Volatile components associated with bacterial spoilage of tropical prawns

H.N. Chinivasagam, Allan Bremner, A.F. Wood, S.M. Nottingham

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Analysis of headspace volatiles by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry from king (Penaeus plebejus), banana (P. merguiensis), tiger (P. esculentus/semisulcatus) and greasy (Metapenaeus bennettae) prawns stored in ice or ice slurry, which is effectively an environment of low oxygen tension, indicated the presence of amines at the early stages of storage (less than 8days) irrespective of the nature of the storage media. Esters were more prevalent in prawns stored on ice (normal oxygen conditions) at the latter stages of storage (more than 8days) and were only produced by Pseudomonas fragi, whereas sulphides and amines occurred whether the predominant spoilage organism was Ps.fragi or Shewanella putrefaciens. The free amino acid profiles of banana and king prawns were high in arginine (12-14%) and low in cysteine (0.1-0.17%) and methionine (0.1-0.2%). Filter sterilised raw banana prawn broth inoculated with a total of 15 cultures of Ps. fragi and S. putrefaciens and incubated for two weeks at 5°C, showed the presence of 17 major compounds in the headspace volatiles analysed using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). These were mainly amines, sulphides, ketones and esters. Principal Component Analysis of the results for the comparative levels of the volatiles produced by pure cultures, inoculated into sterile prawn broth, indicated three subgroupings of the organisms; I, Ps. fragi from a particular geographic location; II, S. putrefaciens from another geographic location; and III, a mixture of Ps. fragi and S. putrefaciens from different geographic locations. The sensory impression created by the cultures was strongly related to the chemical profile as determined by GC/MS. Organisms, even within the same subgrouping classified as identical by the usual tests, produced a different range of volatiles in the same uniform substrate.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)45-55
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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