Muscle spoilage in Nephrops




Guðmundur H. Gunnarsson

Supported by:

AVS Research Fund and NORA

Muscle spoilage in Nephrops

The project worked with the lobster industry in Iceland to identify the causes and define solutions to reduce muscle necrosis in lobster. Such myocardial infarction had increased greatly in recent years for no apparent reason. Initially, it was thought that the probable cause of the muscular dystrophy was a Hematodinium infection in the strain, but such an infection has caused considerable shocks in the Scottish lobster strain. It was confirmed that there was no association between Hematodinium infection and myocardial infarction. Subsequently, the emphasis of the project had to be changed. Extensive morphological studies of lobster were able to link muscle necrosis to enzyme activity in lobster hepatopancrea. Based on these results, a solution was defined to reduce the incidence of myocardial infarction. With improved cooling and treatment with enzyme inhibitors, muscle lobster necrosis has been significantly reduced.

This project was carried out in close association with the Icelandic Nephrops fishing and processing industry. The aim was to define reasons and propose solutions to reduce muscle spoilage in Nephrops. Such muscle spoilage had increased significantly during the last few years without any know reason. The original hypothesis of the project was that there might be a correlation between infection of the parasite Hematodininum and muscle spoilage. Such parasitic infection has resulted in lower quality products in the Scottish Nephrops industry for the last decade. In the project it was confirmed that such infection is not the underlying factor for muscle spoilage. This resulted in a change of direction in the project. Based on morphological analysis of Nephrops it was observed that the muscle spoilage was correlated with enzyme activity in the hepatopancrea. Based on this observation it was possible to propose a code of practice to reduce the onset of muscle spoilage. The code of practice is based on improved chilling and use of enzyme inhibitor during the storage of the Nephrops from catch to frozen product.

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