Impact of onboard chitosan treatment of whole cod (Gadus morhua) on the shelf life and spoilage bacteria of loins stored superchilled under different atmospheres

Sigurlaug Skírnisdóttir*, Stephen Knobloch, Hélène L. Lauzon, Aðalheiður Ólafsdóttir, Páll Steinþórsson, Pauline Anna Charlotte Bergsten, Viggó Þór Marteinsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The initial handling of marine fish on board fishing vessels is crucial to retain freshness and ensure an extended shelf life of the resulting fresh products. Here the effect of onboard chitosan treatment of whole, gutted Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) was studied by evaluating the quality and shelf life of loins processed six days post-catch and packaged in air or modified atmosphere (% CO2/O2/N2: 55/5/40) and stored superchilled for 11 and 16 days, respectively. Sensory evaluation did not reveal a clear effect of chitosan treatment on sensory characteristics, length of freshness period or shelf life of loins under either packaging conditions throughout the storage period. However, directly after loin processing, microbiological analysis of loins showed that onboard chitosan treatment led to significantly lower total viable counts as well as lower counts of specific spoilage organisms (SSO), such as H2S-producers and Pseudomonas spp., compared to the untreated group. In addition, the culture-independent approach revealed a lower bacterial diversity in the chitosan-treated groups compared to the untreated groups, independently of packaging method. Partial 16S rRNA gene sequences belonging to Photobacterium dominated all sample groups, indicating that this genus was likely the main contributor to the spoilage process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103723
JournalFood Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding text
We acknowledge Alexandra Klonowski, Steinunn Á. Magnúsdóttir and Charles Bultel for assistance with laboratory procedures and Þorvaldur Þóroddsson from Samherji hf. for supplying the fish used in this study, conducting the onboard treatment, and processing the fish loins. This work was funded by The Icelandic Centre for Research (Rannís; grant number 1412-0916) through the ERANET COFASP program (project SAFEFISHDISH).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd

Other keywords

  • Atlantic cod
  • Chitosan
  • Modified atmosphere packaging
  • Shelf life
  • Spoilage bacteria
  • Superchilling
  • Cold Temperature
  • Seafood/analysis
  • Bacteria/drug effects
  • Humans
  • Food Storage
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Food Preservatives/pharmacology
  • Food Contamination/analysis
  • Animals
  • Chitosan/pharmacology
  • Atmosphere
  • Taste
  • Gadus morhua/microbiology
  • Food Preservation/instrumentation


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of onboard chitosan treatment of whole cod (Gadus morhua) on the shelf life and spoilage bacteria of loins stored superchilled under different atmospheres'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this