Taurine and Seafood

March 11/Food Weekly News -- According to recent research from the University of Tromso in Norway, "Processing of foods can lead to losses of water-soluble components, and some of these may have beneficial health effects. Taurine has lately attracted attention due to its suggested strong contribution to the health-promoting effects of seafood."

"The lack of systematic information on the content of conditionally essential nutrients, such as taurine, has led to this study. The taurine concentrations in a variety of common marine dinners and spreads, and their corresponding raw materials, have been determined. Losses of taurine in processed products ranged up to 100% when compared with the taurine content of freshly caught specimens. Products soaked in brines or products subjected to rough processing conditions such as mincing and washing had greater loss compared with products with more intact muscle," wrote B.T. Dragnes and colleagues, University of Tromso.

The researchers concluded, "Levels of taurine in processed seafood vary according to product type and brand, showing a potential for the industry to take measures in preventing losses of taurine and other water-soluble components."

Dragnes and colleagues published their study in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition ("Impact of processing on the taurine content in processed seafood and their corresponding unprocessed raw materials." International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2009;60(2):143-152).

For additional information, contact B.T. Dragnes, University of Tromso, Norwegian College Fishery Science, Dept. of Marine Biotechnology, N-9037 Tromso, Norway.

From the March 16, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition