Langkawi, December 8, 2022: A team from Kolej Datin Seri Endon, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (KDSE UTM) explored the research facilities at Fisheries Research Institute (FRI) based in Langkawi. As a continuing programme of Young Scientist Pioneer (YSP) – Kedah edition, a total of 20 students from various faculties joined this educational trip to learn about Holothuria sp, or sea cucumber or gamat. This mariculture research division in Langkawi leads on research and development of sea cucumber breeding and tissue culturing of sea cucumber and seaweed. Apart from research, IPP Langkawi also supervises the breeding and commercialisation of sea cucumber and seaweed produced through their research, as well as offers a free tour around their research centre. A senior director of the Fisheries Research Institute, Dr Azhar bin Hamzah leads the FRI research team. Each state has its research members, and the Langkawi centre is operated by five fellow researchers.
The visit lasted about 2 hours with a live demonstration of the sea cucumber breeding process. En Azim and his colleagues started the tour by explaining the sea cucumbers. There are four main species of sea cucumbers which are grown and studied in this facility: Holothuria scabra (Gamat Teripang), Stichopus horens (Gamat Emas), Holothuria leucospilota (Gamat Hitam) and Colochirus quadrangularis (Gamat Tanduk). Generally, sea cucumber is known for its medicinal properties, but surprisingly, each species is known for its unique function for nature and humans. Gamat teripang is used as an exotic food and source of protein, and gamat hitam cleans the seabed. Mean and organic wastes and gamat tanduk are used as decorative items in the aquarium. Mr Azim led the tour and showed all the types of sea cucumbers they currently grow. The students also had the opportunity to experience holding the sea cucumber and feeling its texture.
On the other hand, the breeding process was briefly demonstrated, and Mr Azim further explained the complete process. The sea cucumber takes a few hours to days to release the reproductive juice and initiate fertilisation. Due to time constraints, only the stressing process of the sea cucumber was demonstrated, and the following process was verbally explained. This tour was a first-time experience for many students to see, hold and learn practically about sea cucumbers. KDSE UTM team conveys a big thanks to FRI Langkawi for accepting the invitation and offering a fruitful free tour around their research centre.