Microbiological quality of maatjes herring stored in air and under modified atmosphere at 4 and 10 C

U. Lyhs, J. Lahtinen, A.A.M. Schelvis-Smit

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Microbiological and sensory changes of maatjes herring stored in air (experiment I) and under modified atmosphere (MAP) (experiments II and III) were evaluated during storage at 4 and 10 °C. Microbial (total and psychrotrophic viable bacteria, lactic acid bacteria and Enterobacteriaceae) counts and chemical analyses (chloride content, fat content, dry matter, ash and pH) were performed. A Quality Index Method (QIM) scheme developed for maatjes herring was used for sensory evaluation. The main reasons for sensory rejections at both storage temperatures were a strong rancid taste for herring stored in air (Experiment I) and a sour, bitter, rotten taste and an aftertaste like old flower water for MAP herring (Experiments II and III). A soft texture of freshly produced samples (Experiment II) was noticed. The sensory shelf-life of maatjes herring stored in air (Experiment I) was three days at both 4 and 10 °C. The MAP herring in Experiments II and III had a shelf-life of 5 and 6 days, respectively, at both storage temperatures. Rancidity due to oxidation of fat was the main spoilage indicator for air-stored maatjes herring. Autolytic enzymes may affect textural deterioration. The characteristic off-odour and off-taste in the MAP herring (Experiments II and III) were may well be attributable to microbial metabolism. On the day of sensory rejection, total viable counts for herring in all three experiments (Experiments I-III) stored at 4 °C did not reach 106 cfu/g, which is considered the limit of acceptability for maatjes herring given by the Dutch fishery authorities. It appears that total viable counts have minor significance in the sensory assessment of maatjes herring
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)508-516
JournalFood Microbiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • cold-smoked salmon
  • lactic-acid bacteria
  • 2 degrees-c
  • microbial-flora
  • shelf-life
  • carbon-dioxide
  • storage-temperature
  • biogenic-amines
  • sensory changes
  • rainbow-trout

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