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Hutton scientists investigate unique flavour of seaweed delicacy

Pepper dulse, sought after by many top chefs (By Mike Hosken [CC BY-SA 3.0])
“We are delighted to be able to apply our expertise in analytical biochemistry and flavour chemistry to discover the natural components involved in the delicious flavour of this Scottish seaweed.

In a collaboration with the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS), scientists at the James Hutton Institute are investigating the basis of the peppery flavour of the seaweed pepper dulse (Osmundea pinnatifida). The unique flavour of this edible seaweed is in great demand with many top chefs.

The seaweed grows along the west coast of Scotland but the flavour varies due to variety, location, growing environment and season. The project involves FAI Aquaculture Ltd in Ardtoe, a leading company in commercial aquaculture, who see potential in selecting varieties of pepper dulse to grow in aquaculture which will provide year round supply of seaweed with consistently excellent flavour characteristics and prevent unsustainable local harvesting.

Dr Gordon McDougall, from the James Hutton Institute’s Environmental and Biochemical Sciences group, said: “We are delighted to be able to apply our expertise in analytical biochemistry and flavour chemistry to discover the natural components involved in the delicious flavour of this Scottish seaweed.”

“Looking at this variation in flavour is novel and selecting the best material for aquaculture will support a sustainable and commercially valuable rural Scottish industry.”

Dr Michele Stanley from SAMS added: “The chemical make-up and flavour of pepper dulse is markedly affected by environmental and growing conditions and nobody has sat down and looked at this in a scientific manner until now.”

The project is supported by the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise as well as FAI Aquaculture Ltd, who are joint funders of this Ph.D. studentship. SAMS is an academic partner of the University of the Highlands and Islands and is one of the UK’s leading centres for marine research.

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Printed from /news/hutton-scientists-investigate-unique-flavour-seaweed-delicacy on 21/07/19 05:30:18 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.