We have already written about breakthrough technologies in aquaculture and fisheries that allow us to meet present-day challenges.
The seafood industry is also increasingly moving towards new product development and adopting innovative processing methods. Here are just a few success stories along the way.
HPP guarantees food safety, extended shelf life and added value
Perhaps one of the most innovative developments in seafood production to date is high pressure processing (HPP).
High pressure processing is a cold pasteurization technique which subjects food products to a very high level of hydrostatic pressure (e.g., up to 87,000 psi) for a few seconds to a few minutes. The effect of the HPP treatment is the inactivation of vegetative microorganisms, which extends product shelf life by 2 to 4 times comparing to the fresh product stored in refrigerated conditions, with minimal changes to product texture, flavour and nutritional value.
An added benefit of HPP to seafood processors is that HPP technology can be used for raw meat extraction from crustaceans (e.g., lobster) and mollusks (e.g., oysters). Traditional methods of shucking meat from shellfish require the product to be cooked first. Since the HPP allows raw meat removal from the shell, a higher quality fresh product can be obtained with improved yields. This technology is also being investigated for processing other shellfish species such as snow crab.
The application of HPP technology for meat extraction from shellfish is a recent development. Currently, there are only two manufacturers of HPP equipment worldwide: Avure and NC Hyperbaric.
However, one of the main trends that makes HPP successful is the development of natural, organic and preservative-free products. Here are some examples of the implementation of the HPP technology in seafood production.
Miami-based processor Seafarers is successfully utilizing HPP technology in pre-cooked crab meat production.
Several companies are offering HPP pre-cooked octopus in skin packaging trays. A high quality product with an excellent appearance and a wide variety of uses for the final consumer. Seafood experts believe that octopus is just the beginning of this category in HPP implementation with a huge potential.
Seafood wet salads are another products benefiting from HPP technology. These products could suffer alteration due to cross contaminations since they are a blend of several ingredients coming from different sources. HPP offers the appropriate solution for manufacturers, extending shelf life and guaranteeing food safety of the final blended product.
Innovative seafood from process scraps and new protein combinations
In the quest to develop new and innovative products, some seafood processors are using enzyme applications. The application of transglutaminase (TG) or “meat glue” is a relatively new development in seafood processing. TG is a naturally occurring (in plants, animals and bacteria) enzyme that catalyzes a chemical bond between amino acids giving it a unique ability to bond protein containing foods together.
TG acts as a "glue" to stick pieces of protein together, which can then be shaped into various shapes. Innovative seafood can be created from process scraps or new protein combinations such as lamb and scallops.
Other applications of enzymes in seafood processing are aimed at converting by-product or waste materials from other processing operations into valuable products. Thus, the use of TG can potentially increase product yield and minimize processing waste.
For example, the use of protease enzymes to deproteinate shell waste generated from shrimp and crab processing allows not only for the extraction and production of medical grade chitosan (which sells for $40-100/kg depending on quality), but also facilitates the recovery of astaxanthin which is used by the aquaculture industry as a pigment for farmed salmon.
Obviously, new seafood technologies allow us to either do things we couldn’t do before, or to do things better and more efficiently than before. However, a lot of know-how in seafood production can be confusing. How to find what you need for your company?
Visit SEAFOOD EXPO EURASIA, the new international fish show, where you can learn about the most advanced and promising technologies in the seafood industry, from fish processing to final product production.