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Develop freeze-dried product from Alaska pink salmon fillets.

Ready-to-eat seafood products continue to grow in popularity. While many new products are familiar to consumers, such as heat-and-eat entrees, beef analogs and smoked products, others have lagged in development and commercialization.

One growing segment on the seafood product front involves freeze-dried foods that are used as snacks or for use in soups and salads. Seafood plays a small but valuable role in the freeze-dried market. Shrimp is the most recognizable freeze-dried seafood, followed by clams, crab, lobster and octopus.

Scientists at the University of Alaska developed a freeze-dried product from pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) fillets. They procured whole pink salmon from a seafood processor in Kodiak, AK, during the summer of 2008. The fish were beheaded, eviscerated promptly, and frozen at -40 C.

Then the fish samples were hand-filleted. The dark muscle was carefully removed. The researchers cut the fillets into cubes of 5 x 5 x 5 mm under cold conditions. They performed experiments using left and right fillets as replicates. The fish cubes were freeze-dried using a commercial freeze drier. Then, processing parameters were investigated.

After establishing optimal freeze-drying conditions, the scientists determined the kinetics of dehydration by taking samples at seven different intervals between 5 hours and 10 hours after processing. The researchers measured the samples' moisture content using AOAC methodology. They also measured water activity in triplicate.

The results showed that the freeze-dried pink salmon cubes can be produced using processing parameters that include a condenser temperature of -55 C; a shelf temperature of 25 C; chamber pressure of 40 milliTorr; and freeze-dried conditions of 9.5 hours.

The kinetics of dehydration revealed a dehydration ratio at 97.7% equivalent to 8.2% moisture. The researchers found that bulk density increased approximately 1.9 times after freeze-drying. Processing yields averaged 28.9%, and the average shrinkage ratio was 27.3%. There was a significant loss of color in the product, but after rehydration, the color returned.

Further information. Alexandra Oliveira, Fishery Industrial Technology Center, University of Alaska, 128 FITC Owen, 118 Trident Way, Kodiak, AK 99615; phone: 907-486-1530; email:

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Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Date:Aug 1, 2010
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