Edible bird’s nest or “YanWo” is a
salivary secretion during breeding
season of a male sea swifts. This sticky secretion is regurgitated to
form the bird’s nest. In modern and ancient China, edible bird’s nests are considered
nutritious and therapeutic. At present, Hong Kong is the largest official
consumer of bird’s nest,with the annual consumption of USB25 million. Malaysia
is the third largest raw bird’s nest producer after Thailand and Indonesia.
However, little research has been crried out in bird’s nest cleaning method
which hamper the growth of the industry.
The harvested bird’s nest consisted of
sand, feathers, egg shell and other impurities. The conventional cleaning
process is by separating the large feathers from the nest matrix with a pair of
forceps. The fine feathers are removed by floatation technique using vegetables
oil. The conventional method result in a considerable wastage (30%w/w). In
addition, the used of bleaching agent to clean the material caused nutritional
Therefore, an efficient and
safe method for bird’s nest cleaning was developed. The method allows reduction
in processing time and high recovery of the edible bird’s nest. The new process
involves dissolution of the harvested bird’s nest, filtration and freeze drying.
Finally, purified and dried bird’s nest was obtained. The process is expected
to reduce the cost and consumers are able to procure a valuable nutraceutical
product at a lower price. With this new developed technique, bird’s nest can be
used as an intermediate material for the natural high quality nutraceutical
such as Epidermal Growth Factor