The objective was to determine the content of fatty acids in edible snail fat by snail species, collection site, and processing stage.
Material and Methods
The research material comprised 180 edible fat samples from the three genera of edible snails collected in Poland: free-living Helix pomatia (HP) and two cultivated Cornu subspecies: C. aspersa maxima (CAM) and C. aspersum aspersum (CAA). All snails came from the Greater Poland and Lower Silesian Provinces: HP from their natural habitat and CAM and CAA from heliciculture farms. The studies focused on the raw meat, cooked meat, and frozen meat processing stages. Fatty acid (FA) profiles were determined by the gas chromatography method.
Helix pomatia fat showed a higher saturated fatty acid (SFA) content, whereas the fat of Cornu genus snails had a higher unsaturated fatty acid (UFA) component, i.e. monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). Thermal processing of snail meat increased all the determined SFA and decreased all the PUFA values, and increased the content of C18:1, C20:1, and C22:1 acids in the MUFA group. The material collection site had limited impact on FA content as differences were noted only in levels of C18:1, C18:2 n6, and C20:5. The differences pertained only to the fat of farmed snails of the Cornu genus.
Due to the high content of UFA and a favourable ratio of n6:n3 acids and PUFA:SFA, snail fat can be regarded as nutritionally valuable.