Authenticating the use of dried seahorses in the traditional Chinese medicine market in Taiwan using molecular forensics

Chia Hao Chang, Nian Hong Jang-Liaw, Yeong-Shin Lin, Yi Chiao Fang, Kwang Tsao Shao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Seahorse, which has a unique appearance and exhibits male pregnancy, is a useful component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). With the growing demand for TCM, vast amounts of seahorses are harvested from the wild every year and traded internationally. This study investigated 58 dried seahorse samples collected from 23 Chinese herbal medicine stores across Taiwan using molecular forensics. Results showed that eight seahorse species were present in the Taiwan TCM market. Among them, Knysna seahorse (Hippocampus capensis) has an endangered status according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, while the West African seahorse (Hippocampus algiricus), tiger tail seahorse (Hippocampus comes), thorny seahorse (Hippocampus histrix), great seahorse (Hippocampus feelloggi), yellow seahorse (Hippocampus feuda), hedgehog seahorse (Hippocampus spinosissimus), and three-spot seahorse (Hippocampus trimaculatus) have vulnerable status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-316
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Food and Drug Analysis
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013

Keywords

  • Iucn red list
  • Molecular forensics
  • Seahorse

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