Changes in Protein and Non-Protein Nitrogen Compounds during Fishmeal Processing—Identification of Unoptimized Processing Steps

Hang Thi Nguyen*, Gudrún Svana Hilmarsdóttir, Tumi Tómasson, Sigurjón Arason, María Gudjónsdóttir

*Corresponding author for this work

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Quality changes of protein and non-protein nitrogen compounds during industrial fishmeal processing of fatty pelagic species (mackerel/herring rest material blend, MHB) and lean fish (whole blue whiting, BW) were studied to identify processing steps that require optimization to allow production of products for human consumption. Samples from protein-rich processing streams throughout the fishmeal production were analyzed for proximate composition, salt soluble protein content (SSP), biogenic amines (BA), total volatile basic nitrogen (TVB-N), trimethylamine (TMA), and dimethylamine (DMA). Mass flows throughout processing were balanced based on the total mass and proximate composition data. The quality of the final fishmeal products was highly dependent on the fish species being processed, indicating that the processes require optimization towards each raw material. The chemical composition changed in each processing step, resulting in different properties in each stream. Most of the non-protein nitrogen compounds (including BA, TVB-N, TMA, and DMA) followed the liquid streams. However, the concentrate contributed less than 20% to the produced fishmeal quantity. Mixing of this stream into the fishmeal processing again, as currently carried out, should thus be avoided. Furthermore, the cooking, separating, and drying steps should be optimized to improve the water and lipid separation and avoid the formation of undesired nitrogen compounds to produce higher-value products intended for human consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number621
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the AVS (the Added Value of Seafood) fund of the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture in Iceland (grant number: R18 031-18). The PhD scholarship was funded by the UNESCO affiliated GRÓ Fisheries Training Programme.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Other keywords

  • biogenic amines
  • dimethylamine
  • fishmeal
  • protein
  • trimethylamine
  • TVB-N


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