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J Food Prot. 2003 Feb;66(2):335-40.

Monitoring volatile and nonvolatile amines in dried and salted roes of tuna (Thunnus thynnus L.) during manufacture and storage.

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  • 1Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Science and Food Science and Technology, Murcia University, 30071 Murcia, Spain. mjperi@um.es


Dried and salted roe, obtained from the reproductive organs of female tuna (Thunnus tynnus L.), is a typical fish-based food in the Mediterranean area of Spain. In the present study, we monitored the formation of volatile amines (trimethyamine nitrogen [TMA-N] and total basic volatile nitrogen [TBVN]) and nonvolatile amines (biogenic amines) in dried and salted tuna roe after processing and storage for 8 weeks at 4, 20, and 30 degrees C. The salting and drying process significantly increased the TBVN, cadaverine, tyramine, phenylethylamine, and tryptamine contents, and bacteria with histamine decarboxylase activity were detected both in raw and in dried and salted tuna roes. During storage of tuna roe, TMA-N and TBVN levels increased significantly after the fourth week of storage at 30 degrees C, whereas biogenic amine contents remained more or less constant. However, samples stored at 30 degrees C showed histamine formation after the first week of storage, with a concentration of < 50 ppm. The volatile and nonvolatile amine concentrations in tuna roe were below the consumer safety limit, with the exception of the total biogenic amine level in roe stored at 30 degrees C, which exceeded the European Community's recommended limit (300 ppm). These results indicate that in properly stored tuna roe, histamine formation will not represent a serious health risk to consumers unless the tuna roe has previously been mishandled.

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