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Keywords:

  • farmed Atlantic cod;
  • fillet quality;
  • rested harvest;
  • slurry storage;
  • shelf-life

Abstract:  The main objectives of this study were to investigate (1) whether rested harvest of farmed cod was better maintained by chilling with slurry rather than by traditional ice storage, (2) whether chilling with slurry would be a feasible chilling method to assure low core temperatures (≤0 °C) at packing of gutted fish, and (3) the effects of superchilling compared with traditional ice on selected quality parameters of cod during storage. In the experiment, seawater slurry at −2.0 ± 0.3 °C was used. Anesthetized (AQUI-S™), percussion stunned, and stressed cod chilled in slurry were compared. Cod stored on ice were used as reference group. The fish were evaluated at the day of slaughter, and after 7 and 14 d of storage according to handling stress (initial muscle pH, muscle twitches, rigor mortis), core temperatures, quality index method, microbial counts, weight changes, salt and water content, water distribution, pH, adenosine triphosphate-degradation products, K-value, water-holding capacity, fillet color, and texture. Chilling cod in slurry was more rapid than chilling in ice. Prechilling (1 d) of cod in slurry before subsequent ice storage resulted in lower quality 7 d postmortem compared with both ice and continuous slurry storage. The potential advantages of superchilling became more prominent after 14 d with lower microbiological activity, better maintenance of freshness (lower total quality index scores and lower K-values) compared with fish stored on ice. A drawback with slurry-stored fish was that cloudy eyes developed earlier, in addition to weight gain and salt uptake compared to ice-stored fish.

Practical Application:  Chilling is an essential operation in any fish-processing plant. This manuscript addresses different applications of slurry ice in the processing and storage of Atlantic cod. Cod quality was assessed after 7 and 14 d of iced and superchilled storage.