Potential Application of Irradiation in Relation to Fish and Fishery Products
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Irradiation Technique to Improve the Quality of Fishery Products

Potential Application of Irradiation in Relation to Fish and Fishery Products


Jaya Naik1, C.V. Raju2 and B.Manjanaik3

               1Research Scholar (UGC), 2Assistant Professor and 3Assistant Professor

Dept. of Fish Processing technology, College of Fisheries, Mangalore


Although demand for fishery products is increasing through out the world, their availability is not keeping face with the demand. Apart from rising population, the increasing awareness of the nutritional value of the fish also contributing to this demand. However, about 70% of world marine stocks are fully exploited, over exploited, depleted, are in the process of rebuilding as a result of depletion. There is an urgent need for countries to implement effective conservation and management measures to meet the raising demands.

There are four major ways to enhance availability of fish. These are by reducing post harvest losses, making better use of currently under utilized species, promoting aquaculture to grow preferred species and diversifying the fishing efforts to focus on the less conventional resources such as krill, mesopelgics, and oceanic cephalopods. The overall acceptability of seafood by consumer determined by both the wholesomeness and sensory criteria of the product. Of the different sensory parameters, flavour rather than texture, was the major factor in determining consumer acceptability.

Conditions for irradiation

            Food irradiation is essentially a cold process because that treatment does not cause any significant raising temperature. However, temperature of the product being irradiated as an influence on the radiation induced changes. Movement of free radicals increased with the temperature, affecting the over all rate of radiolysis lower temperature reduces the production of volatiles in food products, which known to affect the sensory quality of irradiated foods such changes are at a minimum in frozen products.

Effect of irradiation on fish muscle component  

Proteins and amino acids: Extensive data on radiation chemistry of amino acids, proteins and other food components are available. In vitro studies have shown that free amino acids and amino acids of proteins are sensitive to radiations. Free radicals formed by radiolysis of water, namely hydroxyl, hydrogen, aqueous electron react with amino acids leading to abstraction of hydrogen and reductive deamination. The radicals produced will react further, for ex by disproportionation. These reactions are followed by decarboxylation and deamination giving rise to ammonia and pyruvic acid, for ex, in case of alanine. In the presence of oxygen oxidative deamination replaces reductive deamination. Cystine, cysteine, and methionine act as scavengers and react more readily with free radicals than the non sulphur containing aliphatic amino acids. The aromatic amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine react readily with the transient species of water radiolysis, hydroxylation of the aromatic ring being the principle reaction. Phenyl alanine hydroxylation to form tyrosine isomers. Hydroxylation converts these two dihydroxy phenyl alanine (DOPA) catalyzed by the phenyl oxidase. Subsequent oxidation of DOPA and polymerization can produce melanin type pigment (black spot), as observed in the case of shrimp.  

Radiation process for fishery products


Radurization processes have been developed for variety of fishery products including marine fresh water and shell fish. These are summarized the extension of shelf life due to irradiation depends on several factors, including initial quality of fish, irradiation dose, packaging condition and storage temperature. Ideally the fish should be of the highest quality of maximum benefit. Aerobic packaging has been found satisfactory for several low and medium fatty fish species, because of vacuum packaging of fresh fish had several disadvantages such as oozing of drip and possibility of out growth of Clostridium botulinum under adverse storage conditions

Combinations of process involving irradiation   

The preservative effects of ionizing radiation can often be combining advantageously with effect of other physical and chemical agents. The resulting combination treatments may involve synergistic or cumulative action of the combination partners leading to a decreased treatment requirement for one or both the agents. This in turn may result in savings in both cost and energy and may bring about an improvement in the sensory properties and bacteriological quality of the food thus treated. Preservative effects of combinations of treatments in controlling microbial growth and resulting spoilage is based on hurdle technology and involves the creation of series of hurdles in the foods for microbial growth. Such hurdles include heat, irradiation, low temperature, water activity, and pH, redox potential and chemical preservatives.

Potential applications of irradiation seafood processing

Shelf life extension of fresh fish under refrigeration. Elimination of pathogens in fresh and frozen seafood's .Hygieniztion of individually quick frozen shrimp. Development of shelf stable products from fish. Hygienization of aqua feed/animal feed containing fish

 Reductions of pathogens including Hepatitis A virus, from oysters. Removal of off odors fro some species of lobsters and oysters. Reduction in fecal coli forms in live hard shell clams. Hygienization of fishmeal 


          Medium dose applications



























Irradiation can effectively reduced or eliminate pathogens of public health significance, spoilage causing microorganisms, insects and parasites.The major benefit of the application of fishery products of is in the reduction of post harvest losses and the Improvement of the hygienic quality of fishery products.Irradiation at appropriate doses and conditions can augments sanitation measures and good manufacturing practices to provide safe and wholesome products. These in turn, can results in expansion of the fresh sea foods, market, stabilization of the supply, greater use of the resources and stabilization of fish quality .The treatment can ultimately result in an increased consumer confidence in the products resulting from the improved hygiene, increased overall sales and marketing




1      OZKAN OZDEN, MUGE INUGUR and NURAY ERKAN., 2007. Preservation of iced refrigerated sea bream (Sparaus aurata) by irradiation: microbiological, chemical and sensory attributes in Eur. Food. Res. Technol 225:797-805.


2      VENUGOPAL, V., DOKE, S. N. and PAUL THOMAS, 1999. Radiation processing to improve the quality of fish and fishery products: Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition: 39 (5): 391-440.


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