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High hydrostatic pressure (HHP) at 200MPa is beneficial for improving umami flavour and volatile compounds of squids

4 November 2015

Squid is one of the most popular seafood items worldwide, mostly due to its high nutritional value and organoleptic properties. Flavour plays an important role in the organoleptic characteristics of squids. Generally speaking, both volatile and non-volatile flavour components contribute to the taste of squids. In particular, umami is a specific taste to squid through its free amino acid and nucleotide composition.

High hydrostatic pressure processing (HHP) has shown considerable potential as a technology to improve food safety and quality. For food subjected to HHP treatments, evaluation of processing parameters on the flavour components is vital to define proper treatment conditions, in order to prevent the loss of unique sensory properties of the seafood and to ensure consumer satisfaction. In a study published in the Journal of Food Chemistry, Chinese and American researchers aimed to investigate and compare the influences of different pressure levels on the non-volatile compounds and volatile compounds in squid muscles, and also to assess the stability of flavour compounds of HHP-treated squids during storage at 4°C. Results from this study indicated that HHP treatment at higher pressure could lead to the production of higher concentrations of volatile compounds. However, this effect gradually diminished when 10 days of storage was reached. Further studies are necessary to elucidate the mechanisms by which different HHP treatments affect volatile compounds in squids.

The changes in non-volatile compounds and volatile compounds of HHP-processed squid muscles during chilled storage were demonstrated in this study. Collectively, HHP treatment at 200 MPa appeared to be most effective in improving or maintaining the equivalent umami concentration (EUC) and volatile profiles of squids during refrigerated storage. Up to this point, few studies have reported the changes of volatile compounds in seafood treated at various pressures. Moreover, little attention has been given to the relationship between the non-volatile compounds in seafood and HHP treatments, and furthermore no literature has reported squid flavour changes induced by HHP during storage.

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