Bacterial Populations Associated with the Processing of Cape Hake (Merluccius capensis and Merluccius paradoxus)

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Numbers of bacteria associated with Cape hake from catching through processing to the finished product and final spoilage were determined by pour plating on Sea Water Agar (SWA). Subsequently, a total of 1,020 predominant bacteria from the different stages were isolated and identified to genus level. A significant reduction (p<0.05) in bacterial numbers after the first wash during processing ashore and a significant increase (p<0.05) after day 3 of refrigerated storage of final product were observed. No significant differences in bacterial numbers between the different stages onboard the trawler or during processing ashore were apparent. Psychrotrophic bacteria from predominantly four genera, namely Moraxella, Pseudomonas, Corynebacterium and Micrococcus, were isolated in this study. The relative proportions of these organisms was found to change only to a small extent during the chilled processing chain, with the genus Moraxella (46 to 57%) predominating. After several days of refrigerated storage, however, the relative proportion of Pseudomonas increased (from 34 to 90%) leaving this genus predominating in spoiled product.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Sea Harvest Corporation Ltd., P.O. Box 52, 7395, Saldanha, South Africa 2: Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of Pretoria, 0002, Pretoria, South Africa 3: Department of Microbiology, University of the Witwatersrand, P.O. WITS 2050, Johannesburg, South Africa

Publication date: November 1, 1994

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