Date of Award

Summer 8-18-2023

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Food Science and Human Nutrition


Jennifer Perry

Second Committee Member

Mary Ellen Camire

Third Committee Member

Denise Skonberg


The European green crab (Carcinus maenas) is an invasive species responsible for immense ecological and economic damage along the Northeastern coast of the United States. Despite multiple population control methods explored, intensive indiscriminate trapping has been the only effective approach However, this type of trapping is currently not financially viable because of the low price and demand for hard-shell green crabs due to their small size and difficult-to-extract crabmeat.

To address this issue, researchers have investigated green crab sauce, a fermented condiment inspired by fish sauce. This umami-enhancing condiment has the potential to raise hard-shell green crab value and make green crab fisheries more economically viable. Previous research confirmed the chemical similarity of fermented green crab sauce to commercial fish sauce and garnered positive responses from New England chefs. The primary objectives of this study were to continue the product development of green crab sauce by investigating (1) chef sensory perspectives of green crab sauce and (2) consumer acceptability of green crab sauce.

A home-use test with New England chefs (n=17) revealed green crab sauce’s distinct flavor characteristics setting it apart from traditional condiments. Incorporating the sauce into various recipes demonstrated comparable likability to popular umami enhancers, highlighting its culinary potential. Consumer sensory tests (n=87) indicated a strong preference for the green crab sauce fermented at 24°C compared to 37°C in a garlic noodle recipe. Consumer comments and hedonic score correlations indicated a more pronounced crab flavor and aroma in the garlic noodle recipe with green crab sauce fermented at 24°C compared to the control (no green crab sauce), suggesting its market potential among general consumers.

This research showcases the potential of fermented green crab sauce as a sustainable means to valorize European green crabs, contributing to the conservation of coastal ecosystems while benefiting local fisheries and communities. This study emphasizes the unique taste of green crab sauce and its positive reception among both chefs and consumers when incorporated into recipes, indicating its potential for successful market entry amongst these consumer groups. To fully realize the economic and environmental benefits of green crab sauce, further investigations are needed to optimize production methods at lower temperatures and explore the addition of low-cost flavor additives to enhance its appeal.

Included in

Food Science Commons