2009/754 Near infra-red 2009 conference and workshops
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2009/754 Near infra-red 2009 conference and workshops

By Malcolm Brown


Visible-near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (VNIRS) is a rapid, objective technique that has been used within CSIRO Food Futures Flagships projects over the past few years to assess flesh quality of animals within breeding programs.

This research travel grant aimed to enhance the author's capability in VNIRS, and apply these skills to current CRC projects such as "Understanding Abalone Quality" and "Incorporation of selection for reproductive condition marketability and survival into a breeding strategy for Sydney Rock Oysters and Pacific Oysters". Another objective was to establish scientific networks with VNIRS expertise, as potential collaborators for current or future Seafood CRC projects.

Two conferences were also attended: Asia-Pacific Aquaculture 2009 and NIR 2009 where oral presentations were given. NIR 2009 was especially valuable, covering many technical aspects across broad application areas, including seafood and meat quality. The author met with Christel Solberg – a pioneer of VNIRS for salmon quality assessment – and she provided useful discussion and positive feedback. Furthermore, two VNIRS training workshops were attended; one prior to the NIR 2009 conference, and the other a 2 day, one-on-one training with ASD Inc.

Site visits were undertaken to three institutions using VNIRS and other spectral methods for assessing meat quality. They were NOFIMA, (Oslo, Norway; hosted by Dr Jens Petter Wold), the Food Science & Technology Dept., (University of Nebraska, USA; hosted by Prof. Jeyam Subbiah) and Dr Steven Shackelford and his team from the US Dept of Agriculture, Meat and Animal Research Center (Clay Center, Nebraska). Collectively, the visits allowed insight into different methodology and instrumentation, and valuable information exchange on many VNIRS aspects.