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Identification of Bacteria Crucial to Histamine Accumulation in Pacific Mackerel during Storage

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Bacterial growth and histamine formation in Pacific mackerel during storage at 0, 4, 15, and 25°C were monitored. To identify bacterial species contributing to histamine formation, several groups of bacteria were isolated by using selective media under temperatures corresponding to the various storage conditions. Initially, low counts of bacteria were found in the gill, skin, and intestine of fresh fish, and only weak histamine formers were found in the gill. Histamine was found in the muscle when fish were stored above 4°C, and aerobic plate counts reached 106 CFU/g. When fish became unsuitable for human consumption by abusive storage, toxicological levels of histamine were always found. The highest level of histamine formed was 283 mg/100 g in 2 days. The optimum temperature for supporting growth of prolific histamine formers was 25°C. The most prolific and prevalent histamine former was Morganella morganii, followed by Proteus vulgaris, both of which were isolated on violet red bile glucose (VRBG) agar. At 15°C, a significant level of histamine was still produced in fish muscle, although prolific histamine formers were less frequently detected than at 25°C. The isolates on thiosulfate citrate bile salts sucrose (TCBS) agar were weak histamine formers and identified as Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio alginolyticus. At 4°C, less than 57.4 mg/100 g of histamine was found in fish stored for 14 days. Most isolates were natural bacterial flora in the marine environment and identified as weak histamine formers. At 0°C, neither histamine former nor histamine production was detected up to 14 days of storage.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Oregon State University-Seafood Laboratory, 2001 Marine Drive, Astoria, Oregon 97103, USA 2: Department of Microbiology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA 3: Department of Food Science and Technology, Pukyong National University, Daeyeon3-Dong, Nam-Gu, Pusan, 608-737, Korea 4: Department of Nutrition and Food Science, 328 Spidle Hall, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama 36849, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2001

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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