Fish Spoilage And Changes In Bacterial Flora Of Fish During Cold Storage

The fish's regulatory mechanisms, which prevent invasion of the tissues by bacteria, cease to function after death. Bacteria then invade the fish body through the skin, enter the body cavity and belly walls via intestines, and penetrate the gill tissue and kidney by way of the vascular system. The low molecular substances and soluble proteins yielded from fish body during autolysis after rigor mortis provide rich nutrients for bacterial growth.

Various proteases and other hydrolytic enzymes secreted by psychrophilic and psychrotrophic organisms can act on the fish muscle even at low temperatures (17,19). The factors that influence microbial contamination and growth include fish species and size, method of catch, onboard handling, fishing vessel sanitation, processing, and storage condition (12,20,21). Fish are subject to rapid microbial spoilage if fish handling and storage are inadequate. It is estimated that about 10% of the total world catch is lost due to bacterial spoilage (22). Various microorganisms involved in spoilage are listed in Table 1 in descending order of spoilage activity. Some organism cause spoilage in different degrees depending on the total microbial flora, fish quality, handling and packaging methods, and storage temperature.

Table 1. Microorganisms Associated with Spoilage of Fresh Seafood

Spoilage activity



Pseudomonas, (Alteromonas),

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