Electronic nose, new seafood products, whale research, advisory agents receive funding
Alaska Sea Grant to spend $2.1 million on marine and fisheries research, education, outreach and extension over two years
Contact: Dr. Brian Allee, Director, Alaska Sea Grant College
Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 907-474-7949,
firstname.lastname@example.org. Or contact Dr. Susan
Sugai, Associate Director, Alaska Sea Grant College Program, 907-474-6840, email@example.com
Alaska Sea Grant
2004–2006 Project Directory
Alaska—The best way to tell how fresh the seafood that you're
about to buy from your local fishmonger is, is to give it a sniff.
If it smells, well, fishy, then it's not fresh. It's low-tech, but it
The human nose has
been the instrument of choice for consumers and even seafood inspectors
for years. But after a few hours of smelling fish, crabs and other
seafood, even the best inspector's nose can come up a bit short. Our
olfactory organs are, after all, only human.
Technology may soon
come to the rescue. In the near future the electronic nose—a
technological marvel that will never catch a cold, become stuffy or
sneeze—may replace the human nose. Unlike the human proboscis, the
electronic nose will tirelessly, faithfully, effortlessly sniff out bad
"Human sensory analysis is still a widely used traditional method of
evaluating seafood quality," said Alexandra Oliveira, a researcher at
the UAF Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) in Kodiak, Alaska.
"The electronic nose is a technology that is fairly new to the seafood
industry. We are trying to bring this sophisticated tool directly to
the processing plant."
and FITC colleagues Chuck Crapo and Brian Himelbloom, together with
master's degree student Jiraporn Chantarachoti, will test two
electronic noses to see how they might be used to boost seafood quality
in Alaska's processing plants. The research project is among nine new
projects, as well as UAF Marine Advisory Program activities, graduate
student support and outreach efforts being funded by the Alaska Sea
Grant College Program over the next two years to better understand and
use Alaska's marine resources.
The portable devices are similar
in some respects to breathalyzer machines used by police to detect
alcohol on the breath of a suspected drunk driver. Initially the
devices will be used to detect ethanol, a type of alcohol associated
with spoiled canned salmon. Later, the devices also will be used to
test for other chemicals associated with spoilage and to evaluate the
freshness of salmon being delivered by fishermen to the processing
"This technology will help processors cut costs because it will help
them improve their ability to discriminate between a bad and a good
product in real time," said Oliveira. "There's potential for these
devices to be used at several points in the processing line: at the
front end to make sure raw product is fresh, and at the end of the processing
line to ensure the quality of the finished product."
Helping Alaska produce the highest quality seafood is one of several
important areas Alaska Sea Grant will be involved in. During the next
two years, Alaska Sea Grant will work with university researchers, communicators
and educators, as well as agents and specialists with the UAF Marine
Advisory Program, to:
but underutilized stocks of arrowtooth flounder to develop and test new protein-enriched
coatings for salmon fillets.
Study entanglement of humpback whales in commercial fishing gear in Southeast Alaska.
Research effects of salmon interbreeding to learn how inbred salmon may become less fit to survive in the wild.
Test a new multispecies fisheries stock assessment model that incorporates
ecosystem information. The model holds promise for improving fisheries
management and protecting the ecosystem.
Study the nearshore
sea ice–dependent food web near Barrow, Alaska. Understanding
the role sea ice plays in the Arctic food web will help scientists
predict the impacts of climate change in the region.
Study the genetic
causes of paralytic shellfish poison. PSP outbreaks threaten
subsistence shellfish harvesters and a growing commercial shellfish
traditional ecological knowledge of whitefish species in the Yukon River
Delta. Whitefish are an important but little-understood subsistence resource
in Alaska. This project will enhance scientific understanding of whitefish
and improve fisheries management.
Support a host of Marine Advisory Program activities, including
two new agents based in Petersburg and Cordova. Funding for these
new positions came from a National Sea Grant initiative. The positions
will work with community residents on marine mammal issues, business
development, science education, marine safety and other community-defined
Sponsor the Alaska Region
National Ocean Sciences Bowl that brings dozens of Alaska high school
students together each March to test their knowledge of Alaska's marine
Produce an array of books, videos and other
public information materials aimed at enhancing our understanding of
the marine environment.
Coordinate and sponsor statewide,
national and international scientific gatherings including hosting the
Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Science Symposium, now in its 23rd year.
Grant funding comes primarily from a federal appropriation and state
matching grants, as well as from special funding initiatives though the
National Sea Grant Program.
The Alaska Sea Grant College
Program is a marine research, education and outreach service
headquartered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries
and Ocean Sciences. Alaska Sea Grant is funded by the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration in partnership with the State of Alaska
and private industry.
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