Special jelly produced by the humble sea cucumber could have unique anti-ageing benefits to skin, according to new research.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, found that the sea cucumber contains mutable collagen like tissues that allow it to turn from a stiff fibrous object into a flexible jelly-like consistency. Its ability to do this is due to changes in the matrix of the collagen tissues in its outer shell.
Sea cucumbers belong to a small group of marine invertebrates that have this unique ability to change their form. Starfish are another species that have collagen tissues that can change form.
This is the first research to scientifically discover exactly how the sea cucumber changes its form and now that this is known, the next step is to isolate the molecule that is responsible for triggering the unique shape-shifting changes.
Scientists believe that this molecule could then be adapted for use in anti-ageing products for the skin.