Chemical fingerprints could land the biggest catch: seafood fraudsters

HAVE YOUR SAY.

Join us in The Bullpen, where the members of the Scientific Inquirer community get to shape the site’s editorial decision making. We’ll be discussing people and companies to profile on the site. On Wednesday, September 28 at 5:30pm EST, join us on Discord and let’s build the best Scientific Inquirer possible.


Universal chemical fingerprints that can trace the geographic origins of many marine species have been developed by Australian scientists to help combat seafood fraud and stop illegal and unsustainable fishing.

Marine ecologists Dr Zoe Doubleday and Dr Jasmin Martino have identified chemical fingerprints common to the bones and shells of marine life from specific ocean environments, allowing them to track where individual seafood comes from.

Dr Doubleday who developed the concept as part of her ARC Future Fellowship at the University of South Australia (UniSA), says seafood is one of the most traded commodities in the world, but supply chains are unclear, and the industry is susceptible to fraud.


ON SALE! Charles Darwin Signature T-shirt – “I think.” Two words that changed science and the world, scribbled tantalizingly in Darwin’s Transmutation Notebooks.

“It is important we know where our seafood comes from and that consumers can trust the label of origin, otherwise it threatens the integrity of the industry and the fisheries they depend upon,” Dr Doubleday, says.

Alongside Dr Martino, a former UniSA postdoctoral researcher who now works at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Dr Doubleday built a map of ocean chemistry that can distinguish the origin of seafood between south-east Asia and southern Australia.

“Precise levels of chemicals found in seafood is controlled by the ocean where marine life is based, so we can establish a chemical fingerprint that tells us which body of water the animal comes from.”

Seafood fraud occurs when consumers or businesses are deceived about where seafood is caught, and where products are substituted with lower quality seafood or from locations with fewer sustainable regulations.

Poor quality seafood can contain hidden pathogens, unlisted allergens and fewer nutrients.

“This substitution threatens our food system by risking sustainability, safety, and consumer confidence,” Dr Martino says.

“In the long term, it leads to over-exploitation of stocks and upsets the balance of marine ecosystems, ultimately harming seafood industries.”

Paper-based and digital tracing are also used to determine where seafood is from, but until now, chemical fingerprinting has largely been restricted to land animals.

“The advantage of chemical fingerprinting is that it is difficult to falsify. Now that we have established a universal chemical marker, with ongoing research and development, it could transform the way we provenance seafood on a global scale,” Dr Doubleday says.

IMAGE CREDIT: NASA.


Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

DAILY DOSE: Hong Kong loosens Covid-19 restrictions; African animals imported to Indian parks… why?
HAVE YOUR SAY.Join us in The Bullpen, where the members of the …
Welcome to the Super/Natural world of animals and their almost-magical powers.
Premiering tonight on Disney+ is an original series produced by James Cameron, …

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: