Compositional and chill storage characteristics of microwave-blanched sutchi catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) fillets



The effect of microwave blanching on quality characteristics of vacuum and conventional polyethylene-packed sutchi catfish fillets was evaluated under chilled condition. Emphasis has been given to retain the sensory characteristics such as colour and textural properties, which is a major problem in sutchi catfish fillets during extended chill storage. In general, microwave blanching imposed minimum changes on fatty acid and mineral composition of fish meat. A marginal increase in fat content was recorded after microwave heating of fish fillets. The microwave-blanched fillets showed minimum cooking loss of 3.2 mL per 100 g meat. A slower increase in spoilage parameters was obtained with microwave-blanched samples compared with unblanched samples, demonstrating the higher storage stability of the sample under chilled conditions. Microwave heating of fish fillets coupled with quick-chilling and packing under vacuum improved the colour and texture stability of sutchi catfish fillets to a considerable extent. Microwave blanching increased the hardness and chewiness values and decreased the stiffness values of fish fillets. The biochemical and sensory evaluation of microwave-blanched and vacuum-packed sutchi catfish fillets showed extended storage life of 21 days, compared with 12 days for unblanched vacuum-packed samples.