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Organic Acid Dipping of Catfish Fillets: Effect on Color, Microbial Load, and Listeria monocytogenes

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Microbiological and color changes of catfish fillets were determined following dip treatment in solutions at 4°C of 2% acetic, citric, hydrochloric, lactic, malic, or tartaric acid. Fillets were inoculated with an eight-strain mixture of Listeria monocytogenes prior to dipping. L. monocytogenes, coliform, and aerobic plate counts and surface pH and Hunter color were measured at 0, 2, 5, and 8 days of storage at 4°C. Acid dipping reduced surface pH and L. monocytogenes, coliform, and aerobic microbial loads. Little microbial proliferation was observed on acid-treated fillets; however, controls had a distinct foul odor and microbial loads in excess of 106 CFU/g by day 8. On untreated fillets, L. monocytogenes counts did not increase during storage, perhaps due to competitive inhibition by normal catfish microflora. Hunter color analysis revealed lighter and yellower acid-treated fillets than untreated controls, with malic acid producing the least bleaching. The shelf life of refrigerated fillets increased when fillets were acid dipped. It remains to be established if this enhanced microbial quality also parallels sensory acceptability.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Food Science and Technology, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, Mississippi State University, Box 9805, Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762-9805, USA

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