Bangkok-based Chulalongkorn University (CU) researchers have discovered 126 new species of snails in Thailand – out of a total of almost 600 snail species in the Kingdom – and patented the research and development of snail gel for the beauty industry.
The announcement was made during the launch on Thursday of the university's new publication in Thai language titled "Land Snails: The Invaluable Bio-Resources for the Kingdom of Thailand". The English version will be produced later.
Professor Somsak Panha, an evolutionary biology, molecular biology and genetics expert at CU Science Faculty, said the study was backed by the Thailand Research Fund in a project to create the taxonomy of snail species in Thailand and neighbouring countries.
The study has created research networks in Thailand and other countries and produced quality PhD and Masters degree graduates to the world, he said.
Research from 1995 until present confirmed 580 snail species in Thailand and divided them into three groups; tree snails, land snails and microsnails, Somsak said. Out of the 580 species, 126 were new world species, including 10 tree snails, 85 microsnails and 30 land snails.
CU biological chemistry expert Professor Anchalee Tassankajon said research and development discovered the substance called "aromantin" in snail gel which was patented under the CU Intellectual Property Institute.
The study initially selected some 10 snail species – five of which including Hoy Tak Nuan (Hemiplecta Distincta) and Hoy Tak Siam (Cryptozona siamensis) – where the smallest molecule of gel was extracted from snail mantle for testing to develop beauty products in the future.
The next step of the research will go further to produce more products for the beauty industry, create more co-operation with the private sector and promote people's interest in science.