Tokyo: Japanese researchers have developed a portable device that calculates the level of fat in fish, which costs 10 times less than the existing devices of this type, reports said Tuesday.
The device named "Fish Analyser" is designed for fish wholesalers and retailers and is able to determine the level of lipids in a fish in just 10 seconds, reported the Asahi newspaper Tuesday.
The quantity of fat is usually important in determining the extent of flavour a fish has, which is why lipid level is the key to setting the price of a fish.
The device uses two AA-size batteries and costs around $1,078, unlike the existing meters that use infra-red rays, which have barely managed to penetrate the fisheries sector owing to their high cost and large size.
The new device which will be manufactured in the coming months by the Japanese company Yamato Scale, is equipped with electrodes and uses the same mechanism as a body fat meter, which sets the level of lipids from their electrical conductivity.
It is programmed to check the levels of fat in horse mackerel, mackerel, amberjack, sardines, papardas, tuna and other similar sized and shaped fishes.
The device can also determine if a specimen of fish is fresh or frozen.
Five institutions, including the Faculty of Fisheries and Aquaculture of the University of Nagasaki and the government's own Nagasaki prefecture have collaborated in the development of the device, that took four years.
"Amid the dwindling market prices for fishery products, we are hoping that the device will help people in the industry set prices in accordance with the quality of their products and get their brand names recognised by consumers," Masakazu Murata, professor at the Nagasaki University, who led the project, told Asahi.
The team also hopes that the detector will help farmers change the format and amount of feed from the level of lipid detected in their product.