Research Topic

Biotechnology to Assure Quality and Safety of Seafood

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Seafood is a very perishable product which deteriorates very fast due to three mechanisms; microbial activity, chemical oxidations and autolytic reactions. Autolysis is the result of the action of various endogenous enzymes that cause loss of characteristic fresh odor and taste and subsequently softens fish ...

Seafood is a very perishable product which deteriorates very fast due to three mechanisms; microbial activity, chemical oxidations and autolytic reactions. Autolysis is the result of the action of various endogenous enzymes that cause loss of characteristic fresh odor and taste and subsequently softens fish flesh. Enzymes are also responsible for color changes. Oxidation of lipids is the main spoilage mechanisms of chemical nature. Ιn fresh or lightly preserved seafood the main mechanisms that govern spoilage is microbiological activity. Growth and metabolic activity of the spoilage microorganisms, and more specifically the ones called Specific Spoilage Organisms (SSOs), results in the production of various metabolites which affects the organoleptic properties of the product.

Regarding safety, seafood contamination by biological hazards can be very high. Various bacterial pathogens, either as naturally occurring (pathogenic Vibrio, Clostridium botulinum etc), or as contaminants (Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes etc), can jeopardize seafood safety. Additionally, viruses and various marine biotoxins can also contaminate seafood.
Inhibition and/or inactivation of microorganism, endogenous enzymes and chemical oxidations can retain quality, assure safety and extend shelf-life. However, consumers in our day demand safe, high quality fresh seafood, minimally processed, without chemical preservatives. To fulfill those requirements and minimize processing, application of hurdle technology and/or biopreservation is necessary.

Biotechnology offers various solutions focused mainly on (i) use of various natural products of terrestrial or marine origin as preservatives to inhibit microbiological growth and other chemical/biochemical reactions and (ii) use of protective cultures that inhibit spoilage and food-borne pathogens by means of antagonism or bacteriocin production.

Furthermore, to study microbiological spoilage mechanism, to assess spoilage/quality status and detect food-borne pathogens and other seafood hazards, various techniques relied on recent biotechnological methodologies can be applied. Technologies that can be used are mainly molecular methods (genomics and proteomics) for the exploration/detection of spoilage microbiota and microbiological hazards and biosensors for the detection of various spoilage markers or seafood hazards.

Contributions from various disciplines of biotechnology will be welcomed in this Research Topic, which is open to all the above points, and will cover original research articles, review contributions, ideas, or commentaries related to these issues.


Keywords: Microbial communitie, microbial identification methodologies, biopreservation, spoilage activity, spoilage prevention


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