Reports

Effect of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and superchilling on the shelf life of fresh cod (Gadus morhua) loins of different degrees of freshness at packaging

Published:

01/09/2008

Authors:

María Guðjónsdóttir, Hannes Magnússon, Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir, Björn Margeirsson, Hélène L. Lauzon, Eyjólfur Reynisson, Emilía Martinsdóttir

Supported by:

AVS Research Fund, Rannís Technology Development Fund

contact

Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir

Project Manager

kolbrun.sveinsdottir@matis.is

Effect of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and superchilling on the shelf life of fresh cod (Gadus morhua) loins of different degrees of freshness at packaging

The purpose of this experiment was to evaluate the effect of aerated packaging (MAP) and supercooling on the quality changes and shelf life of cod pieces of fresh raw material that was processed and packaged after 2 and 7 days of fishing. The experiment was carried out in collaboration with Samherji, Dalvík and Norðlenska, Akureyri in October and November 2007. The fish was stored whole in ice until packing at -0.2 ± 0.1 ° C (2 days from fishing) and -0.2 ± 0.2 ° C (7 days from fishing). The neck pieces were cut in half and then packed (350-550 g) in an airtight container. The composition of the gas mixture was as follows: 50% CO2, 5% O2 and 45% N2. Packaged cod pieces were stored in cold storage at -0.6 ± 1.4 ° C and samples were taken over a 3-week storage period and evaluated by sensory evaluation, microbial and chemical measurements. The age of the raw material during packaging had a clear effect on the sensory evaluation of the pieces. Packing after 2 days led to a prolongation of the freshness symptoms in front of storage. In addition, signs of damage appeared much later than in bites packed 7 days after fishing. The shelf life of pieces after packing on day 7 can be roughly estimated at 4-8 days, but at least 19 days in pieces packed on day 2. This short shelf life of pieces from day 7 can be explained by the development of microbial flora and the formation of volatile pesticides as well as the temperature profile of whole fish before packaging. The effect of different packing dates had a significant effect on the microflora. Thus, the total number of microorganisms was much smaller in pieces packed after 2 days than on day 7 (log 3.7 vs 5.4 / g). This difference can largely be attributed to the varying number of Photobacterium phosphoreum (Pp) in the flesh immediately after packing, but it was not detected during the previous packing on the 3rd day of the experiment (below log 1.3 / g) and on day 8 the number was only log 2.4 / g. On that day, the number of Pp was 1000x higher in pieces packed on day 7 and they were predominant throughout the storage period in this group. On day 8, the number of other pests (H2S-producing bacteria and pseudomonads) was somewhat higher (Δ log 0.6-0.7 / g) in this group compared to the group packed on day 2. These results confirm that P. phosphoreum is one of the main damaging microorganisms in gas-packed cod pieces but also in chilled, whole cod. The results of TVB-N and TMA measurements were in good agreement with microbial measurements, but especially Pp. Low Field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (LF-NMR) technology was used to measure relaxation times in samples over the storage period. Significantly higher "relaxation times" were measured in chunks packed after 7 days of fishing than in chunks packed 2 days after fishing. It indicates greater binding of water molecules to the environment in the 7-day bites. This is in line with the generally higher water resistance and water content of those samples over the storage period. Overall, the results show the importance of using the freshest ingredients for MA packaging, thus ensuring higher quality and longer shelf life, which should result in a higher price for the product.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and superchilling on the shelf life and quality changes of fresh loins prepared from Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) of different freshness, ie processed 2 or 7 days post catch. The study was performed in cooperation with Samherji (Dalvík, Iceland) and Norðlenska (Akureyri) in October and November 2007. The average fish temperature during storage prior to processing on days 2 and 7 was -0.2 ± 0.1 ° C and -0.2 ± 0.2 ° C, respectively. Cod loins (350-550 g) were packed in trays under modified atmosphere (50% CO2 / 5% O2 / 45% N2), stored at -0.6 ± 1.4 ° C and sampled regularly over a three-week period for sensory, microbiological and chemical analyzes . The results show that the raw material freshness clearly influenced the sensory characteristics of packed loins. Processing 2 days post catch resulted in more prominent freshness sensory characteristics the first days of storage. In addition, sensory indicators of spoilage became evident much later compared to MApacked fillets from raw material processed 5 days later. The expected shelf life of the MA-packed cod loins could be roughly calculated as 4-8 days when processed 7 days post catch, but at least 19 days when the cod was processed 2 days post catch. This reduced shelf life of MAP products processed at a later stage was also explained by the temperature profile of the whole fish prior to processing, microbial development and volatile amine production observed. In fact, the day of packaging had a major effect on the microflora development, with lower total viable counts (TVC) in loins processed earlier in relation to time from catch (log 3.7 vs 5.4 / g). This difference could be linked to large variations in levels of Photobacterium phosphoreum (Pp) in the flesh at processing times, being below detection (log 1.3 / g) 2 days post catch but found to increase to log 2.4 / g in early processed loins 6 days later, in contrast to 1000-fold higher Pp levels in loins processed later. Pp was found to quickly dominate the microflora of loins processed 7 days post catch. Similarly, slightly higher levels (Δ log 0.6- 0.7 / g) of other spoilage bacteria, H2S-producing bacteria and pseudomonads, were found 8 days post catch in loins processed later. These results confirm that P. phosphoreum is one of the main spoilage organisms in cod, unprocessed as MA-processed. TVB-N and TMA production corresponded well to the microbial development, especially counts of P. phosphoreum. Low Field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (LF-NMR) was used to measure the relaxation times of the samples during storage. The samples packed 7 days after catch showed significantly higher relaxation times than samples packed 2 days after catch. This indicates stronger bindings of the water molecules to their environment in samples packed at a later stage. This is in agreement with the generally higher water holding capacity and water content in the samples during storage. Finally, the results demonstrated that delaying processing of raw material is undesirable if it is intended to be MA-packed and sold as more valuable products.

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