View all news

The healing properties of seafood: SCU Buzz

Professor Kirsten Benkendorff in blue polo smiling in a field.


4 March 2024

Molluscs don’t just make good appetisers – they have been found to contain many nutritional benefits including anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Researcher at the National Marine Science Centre, Professor Kirsten Benkendorff, spoke on SCU Buzz podcast about the medicinal properties of our marine life.

Professor Benkendorff is leading research into the nutraceutical properties of molluscs and how the health of our waterways impacts the seafood we consume.

“Food is our medicine and medicine is our food. We need to think carefully about what we eat and the health properties of those foods. Seafood has anti-inflammatory properties and is generally good for the immune system,” Professor Benkendorff said.

“In addition to that, we can take extracts from the molluscs and either develop them as nutraceuticals or pharmaceuticals. There are a few anti-cancer and pain-killing compounds that are now clinically available.”

Professor Benkendorff said environmental pollutants are impacting on these health properties in our seafood.

“The quality of the food that we eat does depend on the environment in which it is grown. We’ve found that in elevated heat we do see a drop in some of those really good polyunsaturated fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties. So that is making the food less nutritious,” Professor Benkendorff said.

“We have also been looking at the effects of pesticides on the health properties of seafood. Again, we see that when the organism is stressed in the presence of something like a pesticide, they produce less polyunsaturated fatty acids.”

Listen now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Soundcloud.