Fish are perishable food products, so their shelf life is largely dependent on proper handling during cold chain distribution. No one of the conventional technologies can be applied to extend their shelf life. As a result, new processing technologies are investigated, aiming to increase the shelf life while maintaining the quality characteristics of the fish. The research activity of this project concerns the investigation of the application of two new processing technologies such as High Pressure and Cold plasma at atmospheric pressure on fish products.
High Pressure (HP) technology can be applied for the production of microbiologically safe food products with improved quality characteristics. It is a natural process with applied pressures ranging from 100-1000 MPa (1000-10000 atm) and temperatures <20°C. Concerning fish products, an effect of HP on proteins has been observed, resulting in degradation of their sensory characteristics. The determination of the optimum processing conditions (time, pressure, temperature) by applying HP could lead to safe products of increased shelf life with optimum quality.
Cold plasma (CP) in atmospheric conditions is a promising technology with potential application to fish products. Plasma can be considered as a partially ionized gas that consists of electrons, ions, neutral atoms and molecules and also free radicals, excited species and photons. By applying this technology, ‘activation’ of water could be achieved (production of water with antimicrobial properties), which in the case of fish products could be used either as an immersion agent for the reduction of the microbial load, or as ‘activated’ ice wich could be used during their storage and distribution.
The aim of the project was the investigation of the applicability of the above technologies and the evaluation of their effectiveness on sea bream and sea bass fillet products, in order to produce fish products with extend shelf life with improved quality and sensory characteristics, enhancing export activity of fish industry.