Smells like fish? Creating the aroma of salmon from plants to offer more sustainable food – Digital Journal


Fish and chips is a popular hot dish consisting of fish fried in a crispy batter, served with chips. Image by Kgbo CC BY-SA 4.0.

Scientists have managed to recreate the scent of salmon from plants as part of attempts to offer more sustainable seafood (this is an important consideration given that marine habitats are at risk). This was part of the Estonian researchers’ attempts to decode and recreate the complex aroma of salmon.

Based on the outcome of the investigation, it is hoped that seafood companies can use the findings to create more authentic products. The research is expected to help address Europe’s reliance on imported seafood and meet growing demand without harming marine ecosystems.

Findings come from Estonia Center for Food Technologies and Fermentation (TFTAK). The researchers were asked to tease out the fish’s complex odor ‘molecule by molecule’. This will allow them to assess which chemicals are associated with the distinctive scent. After this, they will be able to create a series of odor profiles.

Once identified, substitute aromas will be created using natural fatty acids, seeking to recreate the aroma using oils extracted from plants, algae and microbes. This can then be used as an ingredient that food producers can add to plant-based or farmed fish, with the goal of making the food smell and taste more authentic.

Farmed meat or fish” refers to meat grown in cultivators, which provides the heat and nutrients cells need to become meat. “Lab-grown meat” is an alternate, albeit misleading, term.

Principal Investigator Dr. Sirli Rosenvald, Head of Protein Research, Sensomics (integrating genomics with clinical informatics), and Alternative Meat Development at TFTAK, state: “We are going to work with the hundreds of molecules that make up the aroma and we hope to break this down into the 10 or 20 that are most crucial to the smell of salmon, which is closely related to the taste and the entire dining experience. .”

The thinking behind this type of research is that if those looking to push for more sustainable seafood- or meat-based alternatives want to increase product acceptance, they need to develop foods that taste and smell like the products people are familiar with.

Behind this, there is a need to address sustainability when it comes to seafood. For example, it is estimated that half of the EU’s marine habitats are now considered threatened or near threatened, mainly due to pollution, fishing and aquaculture. In addition, the global demand for seafood is expected to increase increase by 5 percent over the next ten years, a rate at which conventional aquaculture will fight to fulfill.

The development is also likely to coincide with consumers looking for more sustainable options.


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