Longer-lasting seafood a tasty possibility

Posted by Isobel Drake on 22nd January 2009

Queensland Government researchers believe they have discovered a natural preservative that keeps seafood products fresher for longer. The project, conducted by the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F), has been looking at using the natural preservative properties of native foods to extend the shelf life of convenience seafood packs.

Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin said plants contained natural extracts to protect and defend themselves from microbial attacks, which could also be harnessed to provide protection for fresh foods. “The project is focused on extracts from plants such as lemon myrtle to control the spoilage bacteria of fish and guarantee a fresh product,” Mr Mulherin said. “This is an updated use of the principles of preservation applied for thousands of years using herbs and spices.”

“Keeping fish fresh longer and avoiding the waste of unsold fish fillets will boost the fish industry and encourage greater consumption of healthy seafood,” he added.

DPI&F science leader Dr Roger Stanley said that, as well as extending the shelf-life of seafood, the addition of native plants also created a unique Australian flavour.

“Our research is also investigating the best flavour combinations of these native ingredients and the optimal amounts to ensure consumers have an end product that is not only good for them but also tastes incredible,” he remarked.

The initiative, jointly funded by DPI&F and the Department of Tourism, Regional Development and Industry (DTRDI), is using consumer testing to ensure these foods have the most desirable flavours.

“DPI&F is intent on improving the overall eating experience of Queensland consumers using the science of consumer perceptions,” Dr Stanley reported. “The aim is to sell high-quality Queensland product at a premium price that keeps both the customer and the producer happy.”

DPI&F and DTRDI are working with commercial partners MG Kailis, Coral Coast Mariculture and Sealed Air Australia in a bid to ensure greater results and productivity for the industry.