A total of 18 farmed turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) were slaughtered over 4 successive weeks in November 2012 and stored in polystyrene boxes with ice until analyzed. The fish were stored between 1 and 22 d and presented to a taste panel and further analyzed for quality index method (QIM), microbiological analysis by real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR), taste, pH, color by computer imaging, protein denaturation with differential scanner calorimeter (DSC), texture hardness, and shear force. Results show small, but significant changes in physical and visual attributes such as texture and color. No gaping was observed. Only small changes in texture were observed explained by lack of myosin denaturation. The fillets became more white and yellow during storage, whereas the major changes occurred during the 1st week. A panel evaluating QIM and taste could not distinguish major differences in appearance and taste and over 15 d storage period, but were able to quantify the age by smell. Analysis of microorganisms on the epidermis displayed growth of Carnobacterium maltaromaticum, potentially inhibiting growth of other spoilage bacteria. Fish stored for 22 d were rejected by the taste panel caused by a stale smell and taste, but not bitter or rancid. It is concluded that turbot has a shelf life of at least 16 d.
This research gives a better understanding on why flatfish do have a long shelf life and the spoilage criteria involved. This understanding can be used to improve the shelf life of turbot even more, but more importantly increase the market potentials for this and other fish species.