Sensory and Chemical Characteristics of Eastern Oysters(Crassostrea virginica)
Eastern Oysters, or Crassostrea virginica, are an important dietary component in the Chesapeake region and have supported a major fishery in the Chesapeake for more than 100 years. Virginia oysters do not always receive attention in up-scale markets. It is possible that the lack of information on sensory characteristics of Chesapeake oysters may contribute to this problem. In order to differentiate Chesapeake oysters from other oysters, a descriptive sensory test (n=8) was conducted and chemical composition attributes were measured, including glycogen content, proximate analysis, sodium chloride content, and fatty acid analysis. Statistical differences were found for the attributes: volume of liquor, gray/brown and tan colors, roundness of shell, plumpness and salty taste when comparing eastern oysters from Chesapeake to oysters from Rhode Island and New Brunswick, Canada. The glycogen contents in eastern oysters followed the reproductive cycle and glycogen increased from September to December, and started to decrease by April. There were small but significant (p<.05) differences in the contents of moisture, ash, protein and fat of oysters from Chesapeake and other areas. Oysters from Chesapeake had higher percentages of long-chain n-3 fatty acids, which were about 4 times higher than Beau Soleil, an oyster from New Brunswick, Canada. The high percentage of long chain n-3 fatty acids in Chesapeake oysters may be valuable for marketing.