The effects of low pH on the taste and amino acid composition of tiger shrimp

Recent research has revealed that shrimp sensory quality may be affected by ocean acidification but we do not exactly know why. Here we conducted controlled pH exposure experiments on adult tiger shrimp, which were kept in 1000-L tanks continuously supplied with coastal seawater. We compared survival rate, carapace properties and flesh sensory properties and amino acid composition of shrimp exposed to pH 7.5 and pH 8.0 treatments for 28 days. Shrimp reared at pH 7.5 had a lower amino acid content (17.6% w/w) than those reared at pH 8.0 (19.5% w/w). Interestingly, the amino acids responsible for the umami taste, i.e. glutamate and aspartic acid, were present at significantly lower levels in the pH 7.5 than the pH 8.0 shrimp, and the pH 7.5 shrimp were also rated as less desirable in a blind quality test by 40 volunteer assessors. These results indicate that tiger shrimp may become less palatable in the future due to a lower production of some amino acids. Finally, tiger shrimp also had a lower survival rate over 28 days at pH 7.5 than at pH 8.0 (73% vs. 81%) suggesting that ocean acidification may affect both the quality and quantity of future shrimp resources.

Hsieh H. H., Weerathunga V., Weerakkody W. S., Huang W.-J., Muller F. L. L., Benfield M. C. & Hung C.-C., 2021. The effects of low pH on the taste and amino acid composition of tiger shrimp. Scientific Reports  11: 21180. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-00612-z. Article.

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