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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 100:105-112 (2012)  -  DOI:

Hematodinium sp. infection in Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus and its effects on meat quality

Amaya Albalat1, Sebastian G. Gornik1, Nicholas Beevers1, R. James A. Atkinson2, David Miskin3, Douglas M. Neil1,*

1Research Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
2University Marine Biological Station Millport (UMBSM), Isle of Cumbrae, Millport KA28 0EG, UK
3Food Innovation Institute (F2i), Midlothian Innovation Centre, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RE, UK

ABSTRACT: Hematodinium and Hematodinium-like species have emerged in the last 3 decades as important parasitic pathogens of crustaceans worldwide, causing a significant economic loss to fisheries and related markets. In some species (notably the Tanner crab Chionoecetes bairdi), the parasite reportedly causes the cooked meat to taste bitter and aspirin-like. The bitter taste, together with the gross pathology of the infection, renders these crabs unmarketable. Surprisingly, no organoleptic tests have ever been conducted to date, and the cause for the bitter taste is still unknown. Nevertheless, it is generally assumed that the bitter taste occurs widely in cooked meats and products derived from crustaceans infected with Hematodinium. In the present study, we analysed the meat quality and organoleptic attributes after capture and during storage of Norway lobsters Nephrops norvegicus from Scottish waters that were either asymptomatic or symptomatic of patent Hematodinium infection. Results from the sensory evaluation of the cooked product indicate that tail meat from symptomatic N. norvegicus is bland in flavour and aftertaste, and more friable or sloppier in texture than meat from asymptomatic animals. As a consequence, infected meat tends to be less palatable, although surprisingly no bitter taste is reported. From an analytical point of view, tail meat from patently infected animals is at an advanced stage of autolysis, while no difference in microbial load is detected. These results suggest that Norway lobsters heavily infected with Hematodinium are of inferior marketing quality even after the tails have been cooked.

KEY WORDS: Hematodinium sp. · Nephrops norvegicus · Sensory evaluation · Quality-related measures

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Cite this article as: Albalat A, Gornik SG, Beevers N, Atkinson RJA, Miskin D, Neil DM (2012) Hematodinium sp. infection in Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus and its effects on meat quality. Dis Aquat Org 100:105-112.

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