DeWitt 2012-2013 Research Update
Christina A. Mireles DeWitt, Associate Professor, Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station and Department of Food Science & Technology
Dr. DeWitt is currently advising 1 master’s student, Dustin Keys. Dustin will be evaluating the application of Nano-scale ice to seafood. He will be determining whether this new ice technology has any practical advantages over the traditional icing technologies used by the commercial seafood industry. This past year Dr. DeWitt supervised one post-doc fellow, Reza Tahergorabi, a doctoral student, Austin Lowder, and one master’s student, Lin Koh. Both Austin Lowder and Lin Koh successfully defended their theses and graduated this past Spring. Dr. Tahergorabi successfully implemented biogenic amine testing capabilities by HPLC for the laboratory and collected preliminary data for the nano-scale ice project. Dr. Lowder is currently serving a summer internship at the seafood laboratory. He will be focused on investigating traceability issues for small seafood and meat processors this summer. In addition, he will be looking at alternative processing techniques for canned fish and is conducting routine analysis needed by local seafood processors so they can validate the safety of their products. Ms. Koh is currently working as a Quality Assurance and Research and Development Specialist for BioOregon Protein, Inc of Pacific Seafood Group. Aside from the Nano-scale Ice project, Dr. DeWitt’s group also provided services this past Spring for the National Fisheries Institute to evaluate alternative methods for determining net weight of canned tuna.
Dr. DeWitt organized and participated on panel symposiums held at the Trans-Atlantic Fisheries Technologist (TAFT) and Pacific Fisheries Technologists (PFT) meeting. The TAFT panel focused on Seafood Research and Education: development of strategies to preserve research and education for the profession. This meeting involved a panel discussion, which Dr. DeWitt participated as a panelist and a breakout session identifying critical obstacles and identifying solutions. Dr. DeWitt participated on a similar panel for PFT. She has prepared a transcript from both proceedings and is working with a committee to develop a white paper from the symposiums. She was also invited to talk on the same topic before the Seafood Industry Research Fund (SIRF) Board of Directors and to the Technical Committee at the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) Global Seafood Market Conference in Santa Monica, CA. NFI Director of Scientific Affairs, Dr. Blakistone, requested Dr. DeWitt’s participation in providing testimony at the National Sea Grant Advisory Board meeting for the National Sea Grant College Program. This testimony has led to discussions and meetings by Sea Grant’s Safe and Sustainable Seafood Supply Focus Team to address concerns regarding the status of seafood education and research.
Dr. DeWitt also devoted time to developing a simple to implement Vessel Record for troll caught tuna at the request of the Western Fishboat Owners Association (WFOA). This activity involved meetings in person and conference calls with the consumer safety officer in FDA’s Division of Seafood Safety in DC and with scientists at the FDA Dauphin Island Sea lab and the Chief Quality Officer at the headquarters in DC of the Seafood Inspection Program. It also involved meeting with fishermen and processors at the annual WFOA meeting and the Board meeting for the Oregon Albacore Commission to explain the process and receive feedback from the fishermen on draft forms. The outcome has been a form that has been approved by FDA and distributed to WFOA and the Oregon Albacore Commission to facilitate distribution to fishermen and processors. The form has also been shared with the Seafood Inspection Program regional inspectors, FDA’s regional inspectors, and the Oregon Department of Agriculture Inspectors. Dr. DeWitt is still in the process of distributing the form to the State inspectors in Washington and California.