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Tenualosa ilisha (Hilsa) is a commercially important food fish in countries around the Bay of Bengal and enjoys high consumer preference for its unique flavor and culinary properties. Fish flavors, an important factor for consumer acceptance are largely characterized by the volatile compounds. Static headspace gas chromatography mass spectrometry was used to investigate the volatiles in hilsa. A total of 41 compounds were identified: 12 alcohols, 1 ketone, 2 aldehydes, 4 furans, 3 acids, 7 esters, 5 alkadienes, 3 alkynes, 3 aromatic compounds, and 1 epoxide derivative. Principal component analysis showed gradual changes in the volatile composition with increasing storage time. The volatile substances present in hilsa which could be contributing to its flavor were identified. 2,4‐Pentadiene‐1‐ol, 3‐ethyl‐(2Z), and 2,4‐hexadienal were identified as possible freshness indicators and 7‐Heptadecyne‐17‐chloro and 2‐methyl‐1, 5 hexadiene as possible spoilage indicators which could be useful in assessing the quality of the fish.Practical applications
Hilsa is a commercially important food fish and is known for its unique flavor and culinary properties; the flavor is perhaps attributed to the volatile compounds present. Hilsa is transported for import/export purpose in large scale in ice packaging, especially in South East Asian countries; therefore, there is a need to access the quality of frozen fish during ice storage, both freshness and spoilage. In this context, the volatile compounds in hilsa could be useful in characterizing its unique flavor as well as freshness and spoilage status during transport/storage. Static headspace GC‐MS combined with a statistical multivariate approach could be a useful method to identify volatile compounds and characterize fish freshness and spoilage. As the consumers are now more conscious about food safety and quality issues; freshness and spoilage markers would be useful in quality management in fish trade.
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