By Dr PAUL KINOTI
Until recently snails were considered to be a traditional Mediterranean dish. An average snail is comprised of 80% water, 15% protein and 2.4% fat. Moreover, the consumption of snails is considered to be highly beneficial for the human health due to the Ω-3 fatty acids they contain, and because they are assumed to inhibit atherosclerosis and thrombosis. They contain essential fatty acids, calcium, iron, selenium, magnesium and are a rich source of vitamins E, A, K and B12. In addition, snail’s meat has anti-inflammatory effects, aids to the prevention of allergies, depression and other diseases of the nervous system. An average snail also contains a glycoprotein which is believed to contain cancer-fighting properties. In fact, recent research suggests that people in Crete tend to be healthier and indicate lower rates of cancer due to their frequent consumption of snails.
The concept of a more ecological and healthy lifestyle is undoubtedly growing worldwide. However, nowadays the popularity of snails in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics is also growing at a rapid pace. Snail slime (or snail filtrate) is packed with nutrients such as hyaluronic acid, allantoin, antibiotics, glycolic acid, collagen and elastin, all of which are commonly used in beauty products and proven to be beneficial for the skin. Indeed most commonly extracted slime has shown an average SPF(Sun Protection Factor of 30.2) which is suggest that it could be used as a sun screen product by young children and persons with albinism. Also, snail mucin is best known for its anti-aging properties. It helps to stimulate the formation of collagen and elastin, protects skin from free radicals, soothes skin, repairs damaged tissues and restores hydration. Research is ongoing to test if the slime could be used as syrup for coughs as well as in management of stomach ulcers.
Finally, snail shells which have been shown to have phosphorus embedded calcium carbonate and protein could be utilized to generate fortified animal feeds and organic fertilizers.
Bio Snail Shell Fortified Compost
JKUAT researchers headed by Dr. Paul Kinoti, Department of Horticulture and Food Security have developed various commercial products from the larger JKUAT Bio snail project. Among commercial products developed includes: Bio snail cream and soap for cosmetic, pharmaceutical and skin care industries), Bio snail processed meat and caviar also known as escargot caviar (for food industry), Bio snail shell fortified fish, poultry and pig meals (for feed industry) and Bio snail fortified compost for use in horticulture industry for crop and soil improvement.
Bio snail shells fortified compost can be used for the growth of crops and plants in a most progressive way as compared to the conventional methods of growing plants.
Snail shells fortified compost is a mixture of ordinary vegetable compost and snail shells, created by mixing the two components and subjecting it to a special fermentation process. This fermentation stabilizes the nitrogen content, transforms added organic nutrients and results in an optimized compost base material with low salt and nutrient content. Especially at the start of cultivation, bio snail shells fortified compost significantly enhances the crop security of sensitive plants. Bio snail shells fortified compost is ideal for growing herbs, spices, vegetables, flowers and fruit tree nurseries. Distinctive features of the JKUAT Bio snail shell fortified compost includes:
- Biologically active and suppresses root diseases
- Increases shelf life of potted plants
- Slow release of nutrients (especially P, K, Mg and trace elements)
- High buffering effect on nutrients and enhances re-wettability
- Improves nitrogen release
Sustainable Bio snail shell fortified compost
Our compost is high-performance product that will definitely satisfy our customers’ all-round quality requirements. We will, into the future, sell compost that meets aspirations for social and economic acceptability and ecological compatibility even more fully, these needs being well captured by the term ‘sustainability’. This will involve stepping up our investment in research and development.
JKUAT Staff, Dr. Paul Kinoti explains to the president of the republic of Kenya, Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta on the use of Bio snail products such as Bio snail shell fortified compostduring the October 2019 Nairobi International Trade Fair. Looking onis the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation, Hon. Mwangi Kiunjuri.
Ivy Rose a student working for Dr. Paul Kinoti Bio snail project displays the various commercialized Bio snail products such as Bio snail shell fortified compost during the October 2019 Nairobi International Trade Fair.
Dr. Paul Kinoti is a Lecturer, Department of Horticulture and Food Security and principal researcher in the JKUAT Bio snail project