PSM student helps create testing method to identify fresh scallops

Scallop testing
A UNE PSM student helped validate a testing methodology to identify fresh scallops

Bristol Seafood is the first company in the United States to offer Fair Trade scallops. The company has been working with Juneau, Alaska based Seafood Analytics and UNE Professional Science Masters student Joey Ehrhard on a method to determine if scallops are fresh, as opposed to being frozen.

“I really had to dive into the research of what happens to the tissue of a scallop when it freezes,” explained Ehrhard.

Using a specially designed hand-held probe from Seafood Analytics, Ehrhard was able to validate a testing methodology to definitively identify a scallop as being fresh, not frozen. The scallop is simply touched with the probe and data is automatically uploaded into a software program.

“The probe has four electrodes that are connected to it,” Ehrhard said. “Each of the electrodes is pressure sensitive. As soon as they are engaged with a little bit of pressure, they start taking readings.”

Ehrhard worked on the project with Keith Cox, Ph.D., co-founder of Seafood Analytics, who was recently appointed Research Associate Faculty in UNE’s School of Marine and Environmental Programs.

Cox noted that this is a perfect example of how academia, technology, and industry can work together to solve an industry wide problem.

Those sentiments were echoed by Peter Handy, president and CEO of Bristol Seafood.

"We sponsored graduate-level research at the University of New England focused on the marine space, and this year we are proud of what student Joey Ehrhard was able to accomplish." Handy commented.

Ehrhard was part of the first cohort of students in UNE’s Professional Science Masters program at UNE NORTH: The Institute for North Atlantic Studies, where students seek to tackle real-world problems.

“This is the best example of what is possible when academia listens with big ears to the needs of industry,” stated Barry Costa-Pierce Ph.D., FAAAS, Henry L. & Grace Doherty Professor of Ocean Food Systems, coordinator of the graduate program in Ocean Food Systems. “The next generation of outstanding seafood professionals like Joey will come from these types of partnerships.”

Ehrhard says it was the support and experience he received through the PSM program that helped him achieve this breakthrough.

“Our goal was to source out solutions to problems,” he said. “To be able to talk and interact with people here in the United States, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden is really an opportunity that not many people are afforded.”

Ehrhard says the real beauty of the testing probe is that it is portable and can be used anywhere.

“You could be using it on a boat, in a kitchen, a processing facility, or in an office,” he stated. “Anywhere you can put scallops on a flat cutting board, you can use it.”

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Joey Ehrhard
Joey Ehrhard
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Scallop probe 2
The portable probe can be used almost anywhere

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