Photo of the backbone of squid among the winners of the photo competition ARTiS – University of Copenhagen

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27 October 2018

Photo of the backbone of squid among the winners of the photo competition ARTiS

Photo contest

Photo used for squid research at UCPH FOOD won in the category "Macro" in this year’s edition of the photo competition ARTiS (Art in Science). The competition is arranged by the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen.

‘Swords fighting’ The gladiuses (chitin backbones) of squids (Loligo forbesii) photographed on a black and reflecting surface of a stove.
Scale: Ca. 25 cm
Technique: Ordinary photography with digital camera. Research relation: Investigation of the gastrophysics of Danish squid. Contributers: photographer: Jonas Drotner Mouritsen, Chromascope; scientist: professor Ole G. Mouritsen and The Squid Squad, Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen.

The photo was taken by Jonas Drotner Mouritsen.

Written by Ole G. Mouritsen

Cephalopods, specifically Coleoidea (squid, octopus, and cuttlefish), have for millennia been used as marine food by humans across the world and across different food cultures. It is particularly the mantle, the arms, the ink, and part of the intestines such as the liver that have been used. In addition to being consumed in the fresh and raw states, the various world cuisines have prepared cephalopods by a wide range of culinary techniques, such as boiling and steaming, frying, grilling, marinating, smoking, drying, and fermenting. Cephalopods are generally good nutritional sources of proteins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, as well as micronutrients, and their fat content is low. Whereas being part of the common fare in, e.g., Southeast Asia and Southern Europe, cephalopods are seldom used in regional cuisines in, e.g., North America and Northern Europe although the local waters there often have abundant sources of specific species that are edible. There is, however, an increasing interest among chefs and gastroscientists to source local waters in a more diverse and sustainably fashion, including novel uses of cephalopods to counterbalance the dwindling fisheries of bonefish, and to identify new protein sources to replace meat from land-animal production. Combining these trends in gastronomic development with the observation that the global populations of cephalopods are on the rise holds an interesting promise for the future.

There are three main groups of cephalopods: octopus, torpedo-shaped, and sepia-like, and they have only few hard part in their body. The octopus has a hard beak made of chitin, the torpedo-shaped has additionally a so-called sword (gladius) made of chitin, and the sepia-like has a beak of chitin and a calcareous backbone (cuttlebone).

As part of a multidisciplinary research project on the gastrophysics and culinary applications of cephalopods, a number of photographic images were made of both the hard and soft parts of Danish squid.