Chemical Composition

The chemical composition of Antarctic krill varies slightly because of differences in the size, age, and sex of the sample and the fishing season. Average values of general composition of whole body of krill are as follows: moisture, 77.9-83.1%; crude protein, 11.9-15.4%; chitin and glucide, 2%; crude fat, 0.5-3.6%, and crude ash, as 3% (4,5). The composition of the muscle after removing the shell is more protein and less ash compared to the whole body of krill.

Figure 1. Antarctic krill. G, gill; S, stomach; He, hepatopancreas; H, heart; I, intestine.

Table 1 shows the chemical composition of whole krill body taken in the period December through February. It can be seen that the chemical composition of krill is well balanced in foodstuff. The lipids of krill have a high iodine value of 110-190. About 70% of the whole lipids of krill is unsaturated fatty acid. Concentration of oleic acid, eicosapentae-noic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid are high. Krill lipids are, however, not easily oxidized, which may be due to their high concentration of vitamin E in the oil as antioxidant. Cholesterol levels of shellfish are higher than that of fish; krill is not an exception. Krill tissue contains 62.4-71.6 mg/100 g cholesterol. Krill contains large amounts of vitamin A, D, and the B group complex. Most of the vitamin A is astaxanthin in the whole body, which is highly concentrated in the eyes.

About 80% of the nitrogen compounds in krill meat is protein-nitrogen. Myofibrillar protein makes up 60-70% of the total protein (average 9.4% in muscle) (6). The value is similar to fish meats. Krill myofibrillar protein is mainly composed of myosin, actin, and paramyosin, making of similar to that of other invertebrate meats. The protein composition of krill meat is given in Table 2. Amino acid composition of krill protein is similar to that of common

Table 1. Chemical Composition of Krill (% in Whole Body)


Date of Crude and fishing Moisture protein Crude fat Crude ash glucide

Dec. 12

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