Horse mackerel, Trachurus trachurus. (Photo: Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez CC BY-SA 2.5 ES)
Frozen mackerel and horse mackerel shelf life doubled
Tuesday, September 24, 2013, 03:00 (GMT + 9)
A team of scientists from the National Scientific Research Council (CSIC) investigates the implementation of new technology to extend the shelf life of some commercially important frozen fish and improve conservation.
This initiative has been joined by experts from the Marine Research Institute from Vigo (IIM -CSIC), of the University of Santiago de Compostela and of the universities of Oregon (US) and Aveiro (Portugal).
As a result of a multidisciplinary study involving biochemical, sensory analysis, the scientific team was able to increase the shelf life of frozen mackerel (Scomber scombrus) and of horse mackerel (Trachurus trachurus) for three/six months to between 9 and 12 months.
The scientists found that the use of high hydrostatic pressure technology (APH) before freezing mackerel and horse mackerel reduces their perishable character, that is to say, the activity of the enzymes that degrade the product gets reduced.
The team was also able to improve the preservation of the hake and the megrim by implementing ice with natural organic acids preservatives.
The results of this investigation, which began in 2010 with the funding from the Xunta de Galicia, were published in several scientific journals: Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies, LWT - Food Science and Technology and European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology.
"Marine species are carriers of important components in the human diet and, in turn, they are highly perishable as a result of the effects of the different alteration mechanisms," explains Santiago Aubourg, CSIC researcher.
"One of the most used options for their conservation is freezing them, thus maintaining their properties and nutritional value. Nevertheless, since some alteration pathways remain active during the freezing process, it is necessary to go further and investigate other complementary techniques or previous treatments," continued the scientist.
While Manuel Vazquez, of the University of Santiago de Compostela, explained that "these are two fat pelagic species in which lipid oxidation is especially important and causes both odour as well as the shelf life reduction."
The mackerel and horse mackerel "have a significant commercial interest due to the beneficial role that their high fat content may have for health, but they pose serious problems as to their marketing due to their perishable nature," he added.
The project participants added that they intend to employ this new technology in these species, before freezing them, because it has been seen "that it results in an increase of the sensory and nutritional quality, therefore the added value of the product also rises."
The researchers argue that "it is an innovation whose implementation can generate a growth opportunity for the inshore fishing industry."
By Analia Murias