Microbiological assessment, sensory evaluation, and electronic nose (AromaScan) analysis were performed on yellowfin tuna stored at 0, 4, 10, and 22°C for 0, 1, 3, 5, and 9 days. Fish color, texture, appearance, and odor were evaluated by a trained sensory panel, while aroma-odor properties were evaluated using an AromaScan. Bacterial enumeration was performed using plate count agar containing 1.5% NaCl. Tuna fillets stored at 22°C for 3 days or longer had a bacterial load of over 107 CFU/g and were rated not acceptable for consumption (grade C) by the sensory panel. Tuna fillets stored at 4°C for 9 days or 10°C for over 5 days were rated as grade C products and also had a bacterial load of over 107 CFU/g. The change in fish quality as determined by AromaScan followed increases in microbiological counts in tuna fillets, indicating that bacterial load can serve as a useful and objective indicator of gross spoilage. Electronic nose devices can be used in conjunction with microbial counts and sensory panels to evaluate the degree of decomposition in tuna during storage.

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Author notes

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, journal series number R-08100.

Present address: Statistics Department, P.O. Box 110339, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0339, USA.