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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Food Processing and Sensory Quality Research » Research » Research Project #438089

Research Project: Improving Product Quality in Farm-Raised Catfish

Location: Food Processing and Sensory Quality Research

Project Number: 6054-43440-050-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Apr 15, 2020
End Date: Apr 14, 2025

Determine the effects of intensive aeration production systems parameters on fillet flavor and texture.

Catfish is the major finfish aquaculture species produced in the United States, accounting for 51 percent of US aquaculture food fish sales in 2013. However, consumption of US grown catfish products has dwindled from its maximum of 319 million pounds in 2003 to almost half at 161 million pounds sold to consumers in 2012. This reduction in consumption of U.S. catfish has been the result of increased competition by cheaper imports. A method to counter this trend would be to produce a consistently higher quality product having less variability in its taste, texture, and color. The most pressing quality problems, as identified by the Catfish Industry, are the incidence and variability of off flavors and texture of the fillets. Because of the increased competition and decrease in consumption of US catfish there is a need to increase production efficiencies to reduce price to consumers. Toward this goal, a number of intensive pond production systems have been developed and adopted by the catfish industry over the past 10 years. This has resulted in a wide variation of production conditions, which may induce variability in product quality. The proposed research will examine the differences and variability in texture and flavor quality of the fillets resulting from the different pond management parameters for three pond production systems - conventional, split-pond, and intensively aerated. Differences found in quality attributes will assist in the refinement of catfish management decisions to produce a higher quality, more consistent product needed for increased consumer acceptance.