Research outputs

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Main research question/goal
What kind of microorganisms and produced metabolites are responsible for fish spoilage? How can we identify and qualify the presence of these microorganisms? Based on the microbial analysis of specific fish species we should be able to predict the remaining shelf life better. Fresh and lightly preserved fish and fishery products/shellfish spoil relatively fast, resulting in the typical unpleasant fish odor. The spoilage is mainly caused by bacterial growth and the formation of volatile metabolites. To determine the microbial quality of fish and fishery products, mainly total viable counts are used. This doesn’t reflect the actual spoilage, since only a part of the present microorganisms contribute to spoilage. These specific spoilage organisms (SSOs) are fish-specific.

Research approach
In order to isolate, identify and characterise the microbiota on different kinds of fish species and shellfish, several conventional (total viable count, biochemical tests) and molecular (PCR, sequencing, DGGE, GC/MS and SIFT/MS) methods were optimized. These techniques are then implemented to identify and characterise the dominant microbiota and SSOs of two typical Belgian fishery products; brown shrimp (Crangon crangon) and ray (Raya sp.).

The study of the (microbial) spoilage of fishery products is important for the improvement and elongation of shelf life. Once we know the characteristics of the SSOs of the different fishery products, we are able to determine the remaining shelf life. Eventually, we expect to be able to formulate a number of recommendations for the sector.

Funding provider(s)
ILVO - Instituut voor Landbouw-, Visserij- en voedingsonderzoek

External partner(s)
Ugent - Fac. Bio-ingenieurswetenschappen
Effective start/end date16/07/0730/01/12

ID: 4150734