Canadian professor fishing for answers on preserving frozen lobster
Nick Kirmse, CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, July 10, 2017 6:39PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, July 10, 2017 6:40PM EDT
A professor at St. Francis Xavier University is searching for a way to keep Maritime lobster fresher, longer. Dr. Shah Razul recently began a yearlong study to try to find a new way to preserve the flavour of frozen seafood, making it taste as fresh as the day it was caught.
Razul, a chemistry professor at StFX, took a trip to Singapore two years ago to visit relatives. Hoping to share a taste of the Atlantic with his family, he bought an expensive pack of frozen lobster that came from the Maritimes to make sandwiches. But the results left much to be desired.
“The sandwich was not very good because the lobster product wasn’t very good at all,” Razul told CTV Atlantic. “It didn’t hold up very well to the long-term frozen storage.”
Since then, he has been searching for a new way to freeze lobster as an alternative to the traditional brine solution method.
Razul’s research has led him to cryoprotectants, substances used to protect biological tissue from the damage caused by ice formation. Using compounds already used in food products, Razul and his team are trying to create a cryoprotectant “tuned to cooked lobster meat.”
In the lab, the cooked lobsters are flash-frozen using liquid nitrogen, and then the cryoprotectant compound is added. Razul hopes that these compounds, which he claims actually taste like lobster juice, will allow for better tasting lobster.
Razul said he relishes the challenge, both as a lobster lover and a scientist.
“I’m lucky that I actually get to work with something I really, really enjoy,” Razul said. “And of course, if I can help the lobster industry . . . to get a better product, that would be even better.”
The ultimate test will take place in six months, when as many as 100 members of the public will be invited to take part in a taste test, to see how well his frozen lobster has fared.
With a report from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh