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Keywords:

  • superchilling;
  • cod fillets;
  • sensory analysis;
  • specific spoilage organisms;
  • electronic nose;
  • TVB-N

ABSTRACT

Quality changes of aerobically packed cod fillets stored under superchilling and abusive temperature conditions were characterized by the growth of specific spoilage organisms (SSO) and the production of microbial metabolites measured by an electronic nose along with traditional sensory and chemical analysis (total volatile basic nitrogen [TVB-N], pH). A new process based on quick contact freezing and cold air blasting was used to achieve superchilling of fillets before chilled (0.5 °C) or superchilled (-1.5 °C) storage. Photobacterium phosphoreum dominated under temperature abusive conditions coinciding with high levels of TVB-N and increased electronic nose responses indicating increased levels of alcohols and aldehydes at sensory rejection. Dominating growth of Pseudomonas spp. in 1 batch was associated with the origin, the catching method, and the cooling conditions during processing. The superchilling process followed by superchilled storage (-1.5 °C) extended the sensory shelf life of the fillets for at least 3 d compared with traditional process, resulting in a total shelf life of 15 d. High content of TVB-N was observed in superchilled fillets at sensory rejection. P. phosphoreum counts were lower under superchilling conditions (6.0 to 6.8 log colony-forming units [CFU]/g), compared with the traditionally processed chilled fillets (7.2 log CFU/g). However, H2S-producing bacteria appeared to grow steadily under superchilling conditions reaching counts as high as 7.6 log CFU/g at sensory rejection.