2008/717 Improving quality of Australian sardines through utilization of flow-ice technology
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2008/717 Improving quality of Australian sardines through utilization of flow-ice technology

By Richard Musgrove, Trent D'Antignana and John Carragher


This project assessed the utility of flow-ice in preserving the freshness of Australian Sardines from the point of harvest to processing, and wholesale and retail supply chains. Trials were carried out on the Gemma Marie (White Fisheries) based at Port Lincoln, South Australia. Experiments involved comparisons between flow ice (FI), ice slurry (IS) and refrigerated seawater (RSW) at a fish:cooling medium ratio of 1:1. Core temperatures were recorded from fish stored in FI and IS for up to two days; with associated shelf-life trials running up to six days. Fish were also sent to markets (SAFCOL, Angelakis and Cappo Bros in Adelaide, and Sydney Fish Market) for appraisal and sale.

The data collected indicated the greater cooling effectiveness of flow ice and its beneficial effect on fish quality (through lower Quality Index Method (QIM) scores). Sardines in FI reached 2°C after approximately nine minutes and O°C within 11 minutes. Fish in IS took 30 minutes to reach 2°C and few cooled beyond this point. All batches of fish chilled with FI that were sent to market as part of this study were better than average, and, in one case, the best they had seen in a long time. However, there was no difference in price between sardines chilled in flow ice and those chilled in ice slurry. The study was terminated due to persistent mechanical failures of the leased flow ice machine. Thus, further work is necessary to explore the potential of flow ice, particularly at higher fish:cooling medium ratios. It may be that auction market price is not the best indicator of product quality and it is therefore suggested that QIM and other tests such as further storage, and filleting and cooking trials be carried out using sardines treated with the technology.