As the research scientist primarily involved in Aquatic
Food research and development at Oceanic Institute, my work
employs the principles of food science to generate knowledge
that will help those in the aquaculture industry—feed
manufacturers, aquaculture farmers, seafood processors—tailor
feed inputs, production systems, and processing methods to
meet consumer demands for quality seafood, together with increased
convenience, availability, and safety.
Efforts have included creating an OI product innovation laboratory
to provide a nucleus for examining seafood quality such as color,
flavor and texture resulting from the impact of new feed formulations
and environmentally friendly culture systems.
The lab is composed of five major sections. The first is the
primary processing section for washing, cleaning, gutting, filleting,
and peeling or skinning. The secondary processing section is
for grinding, smoking, retorting, and dehydration. The third
is a preservation and storage section consisting of an ice machine,
liquid nitrogen for IQF processing, large capacity refrigerators,
and freezing units for holding and storing samples. The fourth
area, a food preparation section, has an island that features
a stove, storage, and ample counter space. The fifth area is
our sensory evaluation room for product quality testing using
both consumer and trained panels. The lab can also be used for
collaborative work with industry and other institutions to help
meet their needs, including the development and testing of new
value-added seafood products.
Current research efforts include the determination of processing
yield, shelf life, nutritional composition and sensory quality
of market size shrimp, moi, and kahala reared under environmentally
friendly systems and fed formulated diets containing ingredients
made from by-products of Hawai‘i’s agriculture industry
and Alaska’s seafood industry.
Research is also being conducted to enhance omega-3 while reducing
cholesterol in market-size shrimp, and evaluation of the impact
of this effort on taste and texture.
Overall, the aquatic food research at OI provides a unique capability
to explore how we can best make an impact in the U.S. aquaculture
industry. One of the major challenges will involve the creation
of designer low-cost diets that could make fish and shrimp tastier
and healthier for human consumption.