Advances in ensuring quality seafood

Aquaculture supplies about one-third of the fish and shellfish sold today. Now, advances in this field are making aquaculturists more sensitive to the welfare of farmed fish in their final days and the potential for stress to exert an adverse effect on the quality of seafood.

That’s nice. But what’s it got to do with me.

During the 3rd SEAFOODplus Conference this May in Norway, Dr. Martine Morzel and associates from the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) in France reported that crowding and stressful pre-slaughter conditions on the farm can lead to biochemical changes in fish muscle that affect the texture of fish on the consumer?s plate. The result can be fish with a softer and less desirable texture, or other undesirable qualities.

The practical aspect of Dr. Morzel?s research is the identification a protein called desmin as a marker for pre-slaughter stress and the resulting undesirable changes in muscle. Desmin is part of the basic structure of muscle cells.

Future applications might include better quality fish through a relatively simple test procedure. In the mean time, here are some recommendations for buying and cooking seafood.

7/28/06 16:28 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.