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.
Progress was made by ARS scientists in New Orleans, Louisiana on the two subobjectives of Objective 1, which falls under National Program 106, Aquaculture, Component 1, Improving the Efficiency and Sustainability of Catfish Aquaculture. Significant progress was made on the implementation of newly established protocols for fat and moisture content analysis of catfish and trout fillets in collaboration with an NP 306 project. Fat content of fillets is correlated to their texture (Subobjective 1.A) and flavor (Subobjective 1.B) qualities based on the protein gel network formed during storage and cooking, and the enhanced solubility of off-flavor compounds such as geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol. The developed method reduces the time required for analysis from days to seconds, resulting in increased sample throughput. Measurement of fat content is dependent on precise knowledge of the sample moisture content, that can be extremely variable in New Orleans’ ambient conditions. Further time-improvements are in progress on the elimination of the pre-measurement drying process and direct measurement of fat, moisture, protein, and collagen component concentrations in raw (wet) fillet samples. Prior to this season’s catfish harvest, preliminary method development of passive detection of off-flavor volatiles are to be developed by ARS scientists in New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition, water and catfish samples have been scheduled to be collected in late fall, with lab work method development to be accomplished in “Other Important Research” processes.
Adhikari, S., Deb, U., Dey, M.M., Xie, L., Khanal, N.B., Grimm, C.C., Bland, J.M., Bechtel, P.J.,2020. Consumers’ willingness-to-pay for convenient catfish products: Results from experimental auctions in Arkansas. Aquaculture Economics & Management. https://doi.org/10.1080/13657305.2020.1840663.
Cheng, H.N., He, Z., Li, C.H., Bland, J.M., Bechtel, P.J. 2021. Preparation and evaluation of catfish protein as a wood adhesive. International Journal of Polymer Analysis and Characterization. 26(1):60-67. https://doi.org/10.1080/1023666X.2020.1844361.
Adhikari, S., Deb, U., Dey, M.M., Xie, L., Khanal, N.B., Grimm, C.C., Bland, J.M., Bechtel, P.J. 2020. Consumers’ willingness-to-pay for convenient catfish products: Results from experimental auctions in Arkansas. Aquaculture Economics & Management. 25(2):135-158. https://doi.org/10.1080/13657305.2020.1840663.