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What will the shrimp cocktail of the future taste like? Photo:Leif R Jansson / TT

Acid oceans affect the taste of shellfish

Ocean acidification not only affects the availability of shellfish. Taste, texture and appearance can change as well, according to new research.

Participants in a blind test were asked to taste shrimps that had been farmed under "current conditions" and shrimps that had been exposed to "future sea conditions" during three weeks. The "current-day" shrimps were three times as popular as the "future" ones.

Sam Dupont, a scientist at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Gothenbur, says it is the first time that a study has looked at these types of effects from acidification.

"We'd expected a certain effect, but not that it would be so pronounced," Dupont tells news agency TT.

Over the past few years, the scientists have gathered evidence for how carbon dioxide emissions affect marine species as well as eco systems - including commercially important shellfish. Taste changes could potentially affect business for a lot of people.

The team now wants to expand the study to include professional tasters in order to determine exactly how asidification changes taste. That would open up for alternative solutions to the taste problems, for instance changing the food given to the shrimps. But the most important thing is, of course, to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, Dupont says.

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