Research Article Open Access

Fish Spoilage Mechanisms and Preservation Techniques: Review

A. E. Ghaly, D. Dave, S. Budge and M. S. Brooks


Problem statement: Spoilage of food products is due to chemical, enzymatic or microbial activities One-fourth of the world’s food supply and 30% of landed fish are lost through microbial activity alone. With the ever growing world population and the need to store and transport the food from one place to another where it is needed, food preservation becomes necessary in order to increase its shelf life and maintain its nutritional value, texture and flavor. The freshness and quality of fish have always gained the attention by Food Regulatory Agencies and Food Processing Industry. Proper handling, pretreatment and preservation techniques can improve the quality fish and fish products and increase their shelf life. Methodology: Historically salting, drying, smoking, fermentation and canning were the methods to prevent fish spoilage and extend its shelf life. In response to consumer demand for texture, appearance and taste, new methods were developed including: Cooling, freezing and chemical preservation. A comprehensive review of the literature on the subject of fish spoilage and modern preservation techniques was carried out. Conclusion: Fish spoilage results from three basic mechanisms: Enzymatic autolysis, oxidation, microbial growth. Low temperature storage and chemical techniques for controlling water activity, enzymatic, oxidative and microbial spoilage are the most common in the industry today. A process involving the addition of an EDTA (1 mM)-TBHQ (0.02%) combination and ascorbic acid and storage at refrigerated temperatures (5°C) in darkness can be the most positive for controlling the spoilage of fish and fish product. The suggested process would address antimicrobial activity as well as destructive oxidation of the desired lipids and fats. However, more efforts are required to understand the role of proximate composition of fish, post harvest history, environmental conditions, initial microbial load, type and nature of bacteria and their interaction in order to optimize the shelf-life of fish.

American Journal of Applied Sciences
Volume 7 No. 7, 2010, 859-877


Submitted On: 21 May 2010 Published On: 31 July 2010

How to Cite: Ghaly, A. E., Dave, D., Budge, S. & Brooks, M. S. (2010). Fish Spoilage Mechanisms and Preservation Techniques: Review. American Journal of Applied Sciences, 7(7), 859-877.

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  • Fish
  • spoilage
  • shelf-life
  • low temperature storage
  • chemical preservation