Principal Investigator
Luísa Valente

Leader Institution
UP - Universidade do Porto

Research Teams


Fundo Azul

CAVIAR: Market valorisation of sea urchin gonads through dietary modulation

Sea urchin’s gonads are a highly appreciated gourmet product comparable to Caviar. Gonads market price mainly depends on aroma and colour, which are a reflection of animals’ diet. This project will promote the sustainable valorisation of sea urchin by a) improving gonads quality and marketability trough dietary modulation in captivity, aiming the regular production of high quality and prized gonads; b) adding value to sea urchin gonads applying new preservation and processing strategies for gonad upgrading, bearing in mind the preparation of new foodstuffs such as refrigerated, frozen and canned products, to better satisfy consumers' and markets’ demands; c) to promote the full valorisation of sea urchin under a circular economy approach, by converting sea urchin by-products into high-valued compounds, reducing environmental impact and increasing economic value.
CAVIAR project has 7 Work Packages: WP1) Coordination; WP2) Characterization of gonad quality features, using descriptive sensory analysis: projective mapping, volatile analyses, interviews and inquiries to chefs and consumers; sensory analysis; WP3) Evaluation of quality changes and shelf-life of chilled and frozen sea urchin gonads, to identify best storage conditions for gonad upgrading; WP4) Development and test of innovative dietary formulations for sea urchin supplemented with natural pigments to modulate gonads colour and texture; WP5) Extraction and isolation of bioactive compounds from sea urchin byproducts with biotechnological and biomedical application; WP6) Validation of results under commercial conditions to demonstrate the feasibility of producing high valued urchins; WP7) Dissemination of results for wider uptake.


  • Fundo Azul, Ministério do Mar