Development of a Predictive Model for the Shelf-Life of Atlantic Mackerel (Scomber Scombrus)


Despite its commercial value, the shelf-life of the Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus) during refrigerated storage was poorly investigated. In this regard, the Quality Index Method (QIM) was proposed as a suitable scoring system for freshness and quality sensorial estimation of fishery products. This study aims to develop a deterministic mathematical model based on dynamic temperatures conditions and a suc-cessive statistical analysis of the results obtained. This model will be exploited to predict the shelf-life of the Atlantic mackerel based on specific storage temperatures. A total of 60 fresh fishes were subdivided into two groups and respectively stored in ice for 12 days at a constant temperature of 1textpm0.5$^∘$C (Group A) and a fluctuating temperature ranging between 1 and 7$^∘$C (Group B). Microbiological analysis and sensory evaluation through the QIM were performed on each fish at regular time inter-vals. A critical value of 6 Log cfu/g of spoilage bacteria (mainly psychotropic) associated with a significant decay of the sensorial characteristics was exceeded after 9 days of storage for Group A and 3 days for Group B. A reliable prediction of fish freshness was obtained by modelling the QIM as a function of the spoilage bacteria behaviour. A coefficient $β$ of correlation was determined to convert the spoilage bacteria load into a Quality Index score. The adoption of mathematical predictive models to assess microbial behaviour under different environmental conditions is an interest-ing tool for food industries to maximize production and reduce waste. o̧pyright the Author(s), 2022.

Italian Journal of Food Safety
Davide Valenti
Davide Valenti
Full Professor