Sun-dried Spanish mackerel is a common food in Dalian and made by adding salt and sun drying, which has special physical, chemical, and microbiological properties. In this study, the physicochemical properties and microbial composition of commercially available sun-dried Spanish mackerel in Dalian were assessed, and some Lactobacillus strains were screened as a biopreservative for sun-dried Spanish mackerel preparation. The results showed that the total volatile base nitrogen content in the traditional sun-dried Spanish mackerel samples from Dalian was within 30 mg/100 g, the histamine content was 7 to 17 mg/kg, and the dominant bacteria at the genus level were Lactobacillus, Psychrobacter, and Ralstonia. A strain with biopreservative potential was isolated from a sun-dried Spanish mackerel sample, identified as L. plantarum species by 16S rDNA sequencing, and assigned as L. plantarum X23. Fresh Spanish mackerel flesh was treated with 16% brine and L. plantarum X23 at a dose of 107 CFU/mL and then dried in the sun. The sun-dried Spanish mackerel flesh treated with 16% brine and L. plantarum X23 showed a decreased histamine and acid value, increased free amino acid content, and a higher sensory score compared with the sun-dried Spanish mackerel without L. plantarum X23 treatment (P < 0.05). In conclusion, the sun-dried Spanish mackerel purchased from the supermarkets in Dalian were safely edible, and L. plantarum X23 can significantly reduce the content of histamine and putrescine in self-made, low-salt, sun-dried Spanish mackerel and has potential as a biopreservative for sun-dried Spanish mackerel preparation.
All commercially available sun-dried Spanish mackerel in Dalian are safe to eat.
The dominant bacteria in sun-dried Spanish mackerel samples are Lactobacillus spp.
Lactobacillus plantarum X23 can significantly reduce biogenic amines.
L. plantarum X23 can improve the quality of sun-dried Spanish mackerel.
L. plantarum X23 had potential as a biopreservative.