Eating Oyster- in the interest of scientific research!

It’s not every day that you’re invited to eat 12 fresh oysters for free, but that was the experience of a ‘taste-testing’ panel at the School of Ocean Sciences recently.

Amy Muggeridge, an MSc student studying Marine Biology at the School ran the oyster tasting session as part of her research.

Amy is researching two different types of Pacific oyster, a diploid oyster, and a triploid variety. This is an induced variant of the naturally occurring diploid oyster. The difference is bred in or induced into the oyster larvae- and it renders the oyster sterile and unable to reproduce. This prevents the likelihood of these oysters becoming an ‘invasive’ species in these waters. There is also evidence from countries where these oysters are grown, that they may be meatier and tastier.

Amy’s MSc research is focussing on the difference in performance of these two types of oyster- measuring how big and how quickly they grow, which variety is easier to grow of there is a difference, and whether either is more susceptible to parasites than the other. She is looking at where the triploid oyster prefers to grow, as opposed to the diploid, and their accessibility for harvesting. Finally she’s looking at their marketability, which is where the ‘tase-testing comes in.

The panel were invited to eat 12 oysters, without knowing which was which and mark each on taste, odour and appearance.

The panel scientifically and methodically worked theit way through the oysters prepared by Amy.

Lecturer Dr Andy Beaumont said:

“The ones that do have an strong odour have a really nice characteristic smell of the sea. I don’t eat oysters very often and its been a real pleasure"

Carol Joval said: “It was a good challenge to try and eat 12 oysters- I wasn’t disappointed. The main differences we were asked to consider were odour and texture and taste.”

Alexis Beudin, Masters student studying Physical Oceanography comes from SW France- where they grow and eat oysters. “I was quite interested to see how the experiment is going – perhaps I will go back in France and advocate these oysters!” he said.

Watch the video on BangorTV

Publication date: 9 September 2010