Abstract: Acid and/or alkaline solubilization is a recent method developed to separate proteins from muscle foods with good functional properties. However, exposure of the muscle and its components to low pH values has been shown to promote lipid oxidation, limiting therefore the applications of this novel method. This research aimed primarily to study the physicochemical changes of the fish membranes brought about during acid or alkali solubilization processes. The effect on lipid oxidation and the possible role of the water soluble fraction of the muscle (press juice) as a potent antioxidant were also investigated. Model systems comprising minced cod muscle or cod microsomal suspensions were used. Results showed that acid or alkaline treatment (pH < 3.5 or pH > 10.5) of cod membranes significantly delayed lipid oxidation. Added triacylglycerols to washed cod system treated at low pH did not enhance hemoglobin-mediated lipid oxidation. Decreased precipitation of hemoglobin was observed with the alkali-treated membranes at all protein concentrations compared to the acid-treated and the untreated membranes. Finally, the addition of press juice to washed cod muscle tissue or to the membrane model system, significantly delayed hemoglobin lipid oxidation.
Practical Application: The results of this study can be used to improve pH-shifting technologies to avoid or decrease lipid oxidation problems. Also, the use of press-juice from cod muscle as means of protecting the muscle against lipid oxidation is suggested.