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The effect of purging time on the sensory properties of aquacultured southern flounder (Paralichthys Lethostigma)

Drake, S.L., Drake, M.A., Sanderson, R., Daniels, H.V., Yates, M.D.
Journal of sensory studies 2010 v.25 no.2 pp. 246-259
Paralichthys, analysis of variance, aquaculture tanks, consumer acceptance, fillets, flounder, freshwater, industry, off flavors, pouches, salinity, seafoods, sensory evaluation, taste
This study was conducted to determine the impact of purging on the sensory flavor properties and consumer acceptance of aquacultured southern flounder, especially with regard to earthy/musty off-flavor common in aquacultured seafood. Flounders were placed into three different purge tanks based on salinity level (0, 15 and 30 ppt) and were held for 0, 2 or 4 weeks. Flounders were then filleted, vacuum-sealed and frozen at -20C. The fillets were poached in their vacuum-sealed pouches until cooked. Descriptive sensory analysis was conducted using a defined sensory lexicon (appearance and flavor) to document sensory properties. Consumer acceptance testing (n = 75 consumers) was then conducted. Differences between treatments were evaluated by analysis of variance with means separation. Two or four weeks of purging, regardless of salinity level, decreased earthy/musty off-flavor in cooked fillets. There was no difference in salty taste perception between 15 and 30 ppt salinity (P < 0.05). Consumers could not differentiate between fish purged for 2 or 4 weeks (P < 0.05), and acceptance for purged fillets was higher than acceptance for unpurged fillets (P < 0.05). The use of purging tanks for aquacultured flounder will be beneficial to the industry to guarantee a consistent and desirable flavor. Aquacultured flounder fillets are highly desirable and a potentially profitable product, but earthy/musty off flavor can limit consumer appeal. The results of our study demonstrate that purging flounder in fresh water for 2 weeks reduces earthy/musty off-flavor in cooked flounder fillets, and will help meet the goal of a high-quality and consistently flavored product.