K VALUE

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Having an objective method for assessing the freshness of fish remains a major need felt by all the industry. Demand is particularly strong for fish marketed as fillets, where the sensory method, often thought to be subjective, can only be partly applied at best. Several channels of investigation have been explored in recent years (spectrometry, PCR, chemical analysis,...) but the results often reveal limits as far as their possible applications are concerned. There is, however, a freshness indicator, which has been recognised as being particularly pertinent for several decades: the K value, based on the breakdown of cellular ATP, which appears in all consumable animals (mammals, birds, molluscs, fish,...) when cellular respiration stops, as soon as the animal is slaughtered. This indication is therefore practically universal. No reliable, rapid and economically acceptable method which permits the objective measurement of K has so far been developed. A new enzymatic system combining an extremely sensitive bioluminescent component, was perfected and patented in 2008 by a young company from Lyons specialising in nucleotide metabolism. It could be mobilised for a rapid analysis of molecules resulting from ATP breakdown and thereby permit a fairly rapid estimation of K value. The aim of the project is to assess the performances of the rapid fish freshness measurement tool developed by the company and which can be used in the field by professionals from the aquatic products  industry. It is also a question of evolving scientific knowledge in the field of fish freshness assessment, based on the principle of measurement of K value. The results expected at the outcome of the project concern the assessment of the efficiency and the setting-up of an easy-to-use, rapid, reliable and objective method for  assessing the freshness of fish fillet based on the implementation of K value measurement.

This project was labellised by the AQUIMER Pole of Competitiveness on 23 April 2009.

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