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Scanning Electron Microscopy of Anisakis Larvae following Different Treatments

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Ingestion of fish parasitized with Anisakis larvae can produce infestation and/or allergy in consumers. Technological and food processing treatments have been applied to parasitized fish in order to kill the larvae and avoid the infestation; however, their influence on allergenicity has not been studied. Four lots of hake (Merluccius merluccius) steaks artificially parasitized with Anisakis larvae were subjected to two storage chilling (5°C ± 1°C) and freezing (−20°C ± 1°C) treatments and two food processing treatments of heat (final temperature 86.3°C) and microwave (final temperature 66.9°C) and studied by scanning electron microscopy, environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) (acid [pH = 2] and water preparations), and emission of fluorescence. Anisakis larvae were resistant to acid conditions, remaining alive after treatment. Larvae in the heat- and microwave-treated lots presented coagulated and disrupted zones in the cuticle with release of fluids. The cylindrical shape changed to a dehydrated appearance mainly observed by ESEM. Fluorescence was only noticeable in the frozen larvae. Larvae without apparent changes, together with dehydrated ones, were observed by ESEM in the frozen lot; nevertheless, no disruptions in the cuticle were perceptible. Further studies are needed in order to elucidate if the changes observed in the cuticle reduce the resistance of the parasites to the action of gastric enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract and to determine the release of allergens to the flesh by the live larvae during chilled storage of the fish.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Instituto del Frío (IF), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), C/Jose Antonio Novais, 10, 28040 Madrid, Spain 2: Departamento de Biología Celular, Facultad de Biología, Universidad Complutense, Madrid (UCM), C/Jose Antonio Novais, 2, 28040 Madrid, Spain 3: Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (MNCN), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), C/José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain 4: Ayuntamiento de Madrid, Instituto de Salud Pública, Departamento de Seguridad Alimentaria, Sección Inspección Veterinaria de Mercamadrid, Avenida de Madrid s/n, 28053 Madrid, Spain

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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