High pressure produces more king crab meat

Nofima researchers have found a way to extract more meat from king crabs. And, in sensory tests this crab meat is found to taste better.

This article was last updated more than two years ago.

New tests at Nofima show that by using high-pressure technology one can process crabs faster with better meat utilization.

More than five thousand tonnes of king crab were landed in Norway last year. The crab meat, to be used in different products, is currently shipped to China. There, the meat is extracted by hand, before it is returned to Norway for further processing.

The researchers investigated whether the use of a high-pressure treatment would make it more cost effective to extract the meat domestically, as well as be more efficient. In experiments, the crabs were exposed to a pressure equivalent to 40 000 meters of water depth.

"We found that high-pressure treatment is very well suited to loosen the king crab meat from the shell. We also get more crab meat than if this is done by hand," says Senior Scientist Sten Siikavuopio at Nofima Marin.

"In addition, taste tests show that high pressure processed crab meat actually tastes better than meat that is extracted the conventional way," he says.

Using the whole crab

Currently, if the crabs are damaged or are too small, it is a problem to utilize them. This new high pressure technology facilitates removal of the crab meat so that it can be used in new products such as snacks. Moreover, one can use more tasty meat from parts of the crab that without this new technology would be discarded.

Despite the good results using the high-pressure technology, it will probably be a long time before it is in common use by king crab processors in Norway. Currently, the technology is too expensive. Therefore, the industry is looking for other ways to process these raw materials.

"One solution is to mince the remaining parts of the crabs if one can find an affordable way to crush and remove the shell from the meat," says Director of Research Heidi Nilsen.

"The challenge is not to lose any liquids, taste and smell during the mincing process. Utilizing as much as possible of all raw materials from the king crab and other species is something our scientists are continuously working on," she says.

The project is funded by the Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund (FHF).

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