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J Sci Food Agric. 2014 Apr;94(6):1124-31. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6379. Epub 2013 Oct 8.

Microbial and chemical properties of Cambodian traditional fermented fish products.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, Ishikawa Prefectural University, Nonoichi, Ishikawa, 921-8836, Japan; Department of Agro-Industry, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, 242 Preash norodom blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.



Fermented fish products, commonly consumed in south-east Asia, are used as condiments that contribute to people's nutritional sources and as seasonings to improve food taste and flavour. Among these, the Cambodian products prahok (fish paste), kapi (shrimp paste) and toeuk trey (fish sauce) have not been examined in detail. This is the first study to investigate their chemical and microbial properties.


Acetic acid was the most common organic acid with the highest concentration in 10/13 samples (1.9-26.6 g kg(-1)). Lactic acid was also found at high concentrations (0.4-12.9 g kg(-1)). 16S ribosomal RNA gene-dependent phylogenetic analyses indicated that Gram-positive cocci and rods, such as Bacillus, Clostridium, Staphylococcus and Tetragenococcus, were the major microbial populations. High sodium chloride concentrations detected in these products (170-270 g kg(-1)) could be responsible for inhibition of the growth of Gram-negative putrefactive microorganisms.


This study established a relationship between the chemical and microbial compositions of Cambodian fermented fish products, which provides a basis for preservation and maturation. These data could be beneficial in the manufacturing of these products in terms of microbial control and quality stabilisation.

© 2013 Society of Chemical Industry.


fermented fish products; fish paste; fish sauce; microbiota; organic acid

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