• black scabbard fish;
  • sexes;
  • maturation stages;
  • cooking methods;
  • chemical composition;
  • macro;
  • trace and toxic elements


BACKGROUND: Black scabbard fish (Aphanopus carbo Lowe, 1839) is a deep-water fish resource that is highly appreciated in southern European countries and can accumulate high levels of mercury in the muscle. Currently, European legislation establishes limits for the presence of toxic contaminants in raw seafood, despite these products are generally cooked before consumption. In addition, there is still a lack of information concerning the nutritional quality and contaminants available in cooked products. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the effect of sex, maturation stages and three common cooking practices (steaming, grilling and frying) on the toxic elements (Hg, As, Cd and Pb) and nutritional value (chemical, elemental and fatty acid composition) of black scabbard fish.

RESULTS: Few variations occurred between sexes and maturation stages, particularly in fatty acid and elemental content. Concerning cooked black scabbard fish, the greatest differences occurred in fried and grilled samples, attaining higher Hg levels, whereas steamed fish composition was closer to raw black scabbard fish.

CONCLUSION: Raw and cooked black scabbard fish can be considered as a very good source of essential nutrients such as n-3 PUFA, proteins, macro and trace elements. Yet, when the fish is grilled, the Hg content may be above the limits set by EU. Considering the alterations occurred during the cooking processes, steaming seems the best procedure to cook this species. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry