Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Predicting shelf life in fish and meat products

The project concerns predicting the shelf life of chilled meat and fish products by mathematically modelling the growth and/or the biochemical activities of product-specific spoilage organisms (SSO). A new method (based on conductance) has permitted the detection of Photobacterium phosphereum (isolated from fish intestines and from cod spoiled under various conditions) in a mixed flora and this organism was found by the Danish partner to dominate the spoilage flora of a range of fish from Denmark, Iceland and Greece; however, further tests need to be done to confirm this finding as research by the Icelandic partner found a range of organisms responsible for spoilage with luminous bacteria only representing 1 to 9% of the total microflora of gutted cod. The Greek partner found Brochothrix thermosphacta as the dominating organism at time of spoilage of various fish species stored in modified atmosphere. These data suggest a complicated picture (ie a number of SSOs) and further research is ongoing to clarify the situation prior to commencing mathematical modelling. The studies on meat and meat products relate mostly to vacuum packed (VP) and modified atmosphere packed (MAP) beef and cooked meat products. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are the dominating spoilage bacteria of chilled fresh VP-beef with Enterobacteriaceae playing a minor role. The composition of the LAB flora depends on storage temperature and the origin of the meat. Tyramine, hydrogen sulphide, acetic acid, glucose and pH are possible spoilage indicators. LAB are also the dominating spoilage bacteria of cooked VP meat products and MAP-meat products. Important groups are L. sake, L. curvatus and heterofermentative Leuconostoc species. Measurement of pH is a possible spoilage indicator.

Contact

Hans Henrik HUSS
Tel.: +45-42883322
Fax: +45-42884774
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