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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Food Processing and Sensory Quality Research » Research » Research Project #438321

Research Project: Improving Evaluation of Catfish Quality and Reducing Fish Waste

Location: Food Processing and Sensory Quality Research

2022 Annual Report

The objective of this research project is to stimulate consumer demand for U.S. farm raised catfish products and increase the profitability of the Catfish Industry through improved product quality.

By improving methodology for detecting the presence of off-flavor compounds in farm raised catfish, fewer off-flavor fish should reach the consumer, resulting in an increased demand and market share for U.S. farm raised catfish. To improve quality, this project will assess and provide feedback to individual catfish processing plants on the proportion of fish with off-flavors, passing through their plant and will work directly with these plants to control off-flavor issues at the plant. Additionally, current methods for mitigating off-flavors are primarily pre-harvest approaches, and can be costly, time consuming and increase fish stress. Post-harvest research is proposed to treat mildly off-flavored fillets with weak acids and marinades to mitigate the off-flavor compounds and expand the catfish line of products. Furthermore, methods for improving shelf life of fresh and frozen fillets will be examined using UV-C light, and vacuum packaging. Research proposed here will enable the existing U.S. Catfish Industry to better control quality, provide new co-products and improve shelf life.

Progress Report
In support of Objective 1 and as part of a material transfer agreement, ARS researchers at New Orleans, Louisiana, in collaboration with Riverence Holdings LLC conducted a sensory evaluation study of trout fillets with 132 consumers as a model system. The aim of this research is to identify a rejection threshold for geosmin-induced off-flavor in fillets. Results indicated that levels of (+/–)-geosmin up to 500-600 parts per trillion did not present significant differences in overall aroma and flavor, liking, nor acceptability. Therefore, the more aroma-active (–)-geosmin isomer will be used to induce higher concentrations of dietary geosmin into trout fillets for further sensory testing. Research on consumer lexicons (postponed 12 month milestone) and sensitivity to off-flavor chemical goesmin in water is currently being conducted. Data will be collected from 200 consumers during July-September 2022, to be analyzed and published in 2023. In support of Objective 2 and ARS researchers in collaboration with researchers at Louisiana State University obtained data from 914 online consumer survey responses about seafood byproduct utilization. Consumers reported willingness to try foods made with seafood byproducts and perceived risks associated with seafood byproduct consumption. The three most appropriate products for seafood byproduct incorporation were fish products, seasoning mixes, and soups/gravies. Effects of emotional status during COVID-19 on willingness to try these products were also evaluated and data is being analyzed. Also in support of Objective 2, in collaboration with Louisiana State University, scientists transformed catfish frames into a high calcium safe-to-eat bone powder which was incorporated into breading mixes. A consumer study assessed the sensory quality of fried catfish dredged with the bone powder mixes. At up to 20% incorporation in breading mixes, catfish bone powder did not compromise acceptability of the product. Additionally, information about bone powder utilization increased consumers’ purchase intent. This research demonstrated successful utilization of fish byproduct which can be further investigated in other foods to add value to would-be processing waste. The resulting manuscript is published in the journal Foods. Also in support of Objective 2, we investigated if ultraviolet (UV) light can reduce the level of bacteria on fresh catfish fillets. ARS researchers at New Orleans, Louisiana, also evaluated spoilage indicators such as color, acidity, fat oxidation, and the presence of chemicals typically seen during spoilage. Data showed that bacteria were reduced by a factor of three when the fillets were treated with UV-C light. This reduction was sustained through six days of refrigerated storage. This study also showed that the UV-C exposure did not cause any other important changes that would impact quality. Thus, UV-C light treatment has the potential to be combined with other shelf-life extending techniques, such as modified atmosphere packaging.

1. Breading mixes containing up to 20% catfish bone powder did not compromise sensory liking of fried catfish strips. Catfish frames, as a filleting byproduct, typically go to waste. ARS scientists in New Orleans, Louisiana, with collaborators from Louisiana State University transformed catfish frames into a high calcium safe-to-eat bone powder and incorporated into breading mixes. Fried catfish strips dredged with bone powder mixes yielded positive emotions and favorable acceptance from consumers. Additionally, information about bone powder utilization increased purchase intent. This food application of catfish byproduct can reduce waste from the seafood sector, enhance value for producers, and increase calcium in foods without hindering sensory quality.

Review Publications
Murillo, S., Ardoin, R.P., Watts, E., Prinyawiwatkul, W. 2022. Effects of catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) bone powder on consumers’ liking, emotions, and purchase intent of fried catfish strips. Foods. 11(4),540.
Bland, J.M., Grimm, C.C., Bechtel, P.J., Deb, U., Dey, M. 2021. Proximate composition and nutritional attributes of ready-to-cook catfish products. Foods. 10(11):2716.
Bland, J.M., Ardoin, R.P., Li, C.H., Bechtel, P.J. 2022. Instrumental texture differentiation of Channel (Ictalurus punctatus) and Hybrid (Channel x Blue, Ictalurus furcatus) catfish fillets. Foods. 11(13),1875.
Choi, H., Taghvaei, M., Smith, B., Ganjyal, G. 2022. Biochemical analysis of protein compositions among pea (Pisum sativum) cultivars grown in the Northwest U.S. ACS Food Science and Technology. 2:1067-1076.
Yazar, G., Kokini, J.L. and Smith, B., 2022. Effect of endogenous wheat gluten lipids on the non-linear rheological properties of the gluten network. Food Chemistry, 367, p.130729.
Beaulieu, J.C., Grimm, C.C., Obando-Ulloa, J.M. and McClung, A.M., Volatiles recovered in novel, diverse and uncharacterized rice varieties. Cereal Chemistry.
Mattison, C.P., Vant-Hull, B., de Castro, A., Chial, H.J., Bren-Mattison, Y., Bechtel, P.J., de Brito, E.S. 2021. Characterization of anti-ana o 3 monoclonal antibodies and their application in comparing brazilian cashew cultivars. Antibodies. 10(4):46.