4 September 2023

New methods for sensory evaluation of farmed fish

Sensory methods

Have you ever wondered why farmed fish taste different than wild fish? In this article, PhD student Pedro Martinez Noguera talks about his research into innovative methods to understand the taste of fish at the University of Copenhagen.

Picture of Pedro
PhD Pedro Martinez Noguera. Photo: Lene Hundborg Koss

This article is part of a series on the research carried out by PhD students at the Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen, UCPH FOOD. The research contributes to expanding our understanding of food and supports the food system with a view to delivering healthy, tasty and sustainable foods.


What is the focus of your project?

My project is related to quality in fish production. We know that water quality and the animals’ feed play a big role in their flavor. In the aquaculture domain, flavor analysis has traditionally relied on chromatography. My project aims to shift focus onto alternative strategies, assessing their advantages and limitations. If the aquaculture sector wants to be more competitive and sustainable over time, scientific knowledge on this topic is essential.

What does your project involve?

I am mostly working with analytical techniques such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, olfactometry and proton-transfer-reaction-mass spectrometry. These techniques can help us be much quicker in monitoring quality during production and decipher what molecules are associated with desired and undesired sensory qualities in fish.

What inspired you to delve into this research field?

I have always been curious about food quality – what it means and how it can be studied.

How could your research potentially impact the food industry?

I believe it could help broaden the spectrum of techniques that are used to study flavor, both in aquatic products but also in other domains, and hopefully speed up the development of monitoring strategies that could optimize product quality in aquaculture. 

Pedro Martinez Noguera in the process of servicing the FOODHAY-equipment PTR-ToF-MS that he uses in his research. Photo: UCPH FOOD

Does your research involve the study of food culture?

While not directly related, there is an indirect connection. The perception of aroma and flavor is influenced by personal socio-economic background – our olfactory experiences are closely linked to memories and culture.

Does your research contribute to a more sustainable food production or consumption?

Aquaculture, especially systems with water recirculation, can help produce aquatic foods with a much lesser environmental footprint. In fact, if these systems worked ideally, pressure could be taken off the natural marine ecosystems (which many of them are overexploited) and that would help restore the aquatic diversity we have lost, as well as it could bring food production close to the markets.

Where are you currently in the process, and how is it progressing?

I am half-way in my second year, so in the equator of my PhD project. I am enjoying it very much, working at UCPH FOOD is amazing. I have great colleagues and mentors.

What do you hope will come out of your work?

Hopefully good insights to build more research/innovation upon!


PhD fellow at KU FOOD Pedro Martinez Noguera, pedronoguera@food.ku.dk


Communications officer at UCPH FOOD Lene Hundborg Koss, lene.h.koss@food.ku.dk


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