Eating Salmon for Science



Kathy and Ted Nussbaum prepare to taste and rate cold-smoked salmon during a taste test conducted Saturday by UAF student Naim Montazeri. Brianna Gibbs photo

Brianna Gibbs/KMXT

On Saturday, about 200 people got to be scientists for a day when they taste tested cold smoked salmon. Researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences put an open invitation to the Kodiak community to help taste test salmon that had undergone a commercially refined liquid smoking method.

Graduate student Naim Montazeri worked on the cold-smoked salmon research project and said getting consumer feedback is a crucial step in the research.

As a raw product, Montazeri said cold smoked salmon runs the risk of housing bacteria that is normally killed during some sort of heating process.

His researched has focused on using liquid smoke as an antibacterial agent for the fish.

Montazeri said allowing community members to taste test the product is an important part of his research. If people don’t like the smokey taste of the fish, then the product will have no value in the commercial marketplace.

Kodiak is no stranger to seafood, and dozens of seasoned fish tasters came on out Saturday to help with Montazeri’s research. Participants were given two samples of salmon and asked to describe any difference they tasted or reactions to the flavor.

Montazeri said they will look at the results of Saturday’s taste-testing and do further research based on those findings. He hopes that someday liquid smoke will be available to processors as a way of ensuring the safety of a product while not damaging the quality.

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