Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Multi-sensor senses fresher fish

Judging the freshness of fish has until now been a subjective matter. However, a new Artificial Quality Index, derived from feedback from several electronic sensors, is changing that.
Multi-sensor senses fresher fish
Fish are an important part of a healthy diet. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, which may help fight heart disease. However, fish can easily go bad and even become dangerous for human consumption. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure the freshness of fish delivered to the dinner table.

Determining the freshness of fish used to be based solely on the human senses of sight, smell and touch. Electronic sensors have since replaced the human sensory organs, whose sensitivity can vary greatly from person to person. The problem is how to synthesise feedback from several different instruments into a comprehensive measure of freshness.

Research by the Robert Gordon University in Scotland has provided an answer. Data from a full array of instrumentation, including electronic noses, texturometers, spectrometers, etc., is incorporated into a single freshness indicator - the Artificial Quality Index (AQI). The advantage is that the AQI has greater predictive power than any of the individual sensors.

The performance of the AQI was evaluated for two fish that are consumed worldwide in large quantities: the Atlantic cod and the Shallow-water Cape hake. The AQI performed well in comparison with other methods (e.g. QIM). Freshness along the entire fish supply chain, which incorporates different methods of storage, was evaluated.

The AQI is applicable not only to other types of fish, but also to other food products for which freshness is a crucial quality parameter. The AQI methodology has been protected by copyright and full product development is proceeding. Implementation of the AQI methodology will help ensure delivery of a fresher product to the final consumer.
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