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J Food Sci. 2008 Mar;73(2):C50-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2007.00617.x.

Atlantic salmon skin and fillet color changes effected by perimortem handling stress, rigor mortis, and ice storage.

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SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture, N-7465 Trondheim, Norway.


The changes in skin and fillet color of anesthetized and exhausted Atlantic salmon were determined immediately after killing, during rigor mortis, and after ice storage for 7 d. Skin color (CIE L*, a*, b*, and related values) was determined by a Minolta Chroma Meter. Roche SalmoFan Lineal and Roche Color Card values were determined by a computer vision method and a sensory panel. Before color assessment, the stress levels of the 2 fish groups were characterized in terms of white muscle parameters (pH, rigor mortis, and core temperature). The results showed that perimortem handling stress initially significantly affected several color parameters of skin and fillets. Significant transient fillet color changes also occurred in the prerigor phase and during the development of rigor mortis. Our results suggested that fillet color was affected by postmortem glycolysis (pH drop, particularly in anesthetized fillets), then by onset and development of rigor mortis. The color change patterns during storage were different for the 2 groups of fish. The computer vision method was considered suitable for automated (online) quality control and grading of salmonid fillets according to color.

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