Bursatella leachii from Mar Menor as a source of bioactive molecules: preliminary evaluation of the nutritional profile, in vitro biological activities, and fatty acids contents.
Marine invertebrates contain nutritionally important elements that make them suitable to be included in the human diet, and they are considered an outstanding source of secondary metabolites with multiple biotechnological uses. The sea hare Bursatella leachii is an invasive species in Mar Menor that can be managed through the control of its reproduction and/or by massive biomass removal. In this context, this work evaluated the possible use of biomass from B. leachii in the food and cosmetics industries. Biomass was appraised for nutritional properties, and extracts were prepared and evaluated in vitro for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity, cholinesterase and tyrosinase inhibition, and for total contents in different phenolic groups. It had a moderate moisture level, low ash and fat levels, and an adequate protein amount and protein/lipid ratio. The fatty acids (FA) profile was mainly saturated, dominated by palmitic acid. The methanol extract had the highest acetylcholinesterase inhibition. The acetone extract had the strongest capacity to scavenge 1,1-diphenyl-2 picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical, reduce iron, inhibit tyrosinase, decrease nitric oxide production in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated microglia cells, and the upmost levels of total phenolics, flavonoids, and tannins. Our results suggest multiple biotechnological applications for B. leachii biomass in different economic areas.