Carbon monoxide (CO) has been used to stabilize the color of fish muscle during frozen storage and distribution. This study compared changes in the quality profiles of CO-treated and untreated (UT) tilapia fillets stored at 21 to 22 °C (room temperature), 4 to 5 °C (refrigerated), and 0 °C (iced). Samples (n = 3) were analyzed at different time intervals for chemical, lipid oxidation, microbiological, color, and expert sensory profiles. CO samples contained greater (P < 0.05) apparent ammonia and total volatile base nitrogen (TVB-N) at day 0, with greater (P < 0.05) TVB-N throughout refrigerated and iced storage. At time 0, peroxide values (POV) and thiobarbituric-acid-reactive substances were lower (P < 0.05) for CO samples and continued to have lower trends throughout all storage temperatures. Microbiological analysis at time 0 did not show any differences between UT and CO samples. Redness (a*) color values were greater (P < 0.05) in CO tilapia at time 0; however, treated product showed a more rapid decline in a* throughout all storage temperatures. While expert sensory evaluation showed no statistical differences between UT and CO tilapia at time 0, CO product failed sensory assessment sooner than UT product when stored refrigerated and in ice.
The overall goal of this project was to evaluate commercially processed carbon-monoxide-treated tilapia fillets produced for retail distribution as to the impact on the overall quality profile. As a color-stabilizing technology, it could mask deteriorating quality.