Fish and fish-based products are easily perishable foods due to different factors, including fragile organization, abundant endo-enzymes, psychrophilic bacteria, and impact of pre-harvest operations, that contribute to reducing its value. Therefore, a timely effective method for fish freshness and shelf-life evaluation is important. In this context, this study aimed to develop a sensory scheme based on the Quality Index Method (QIM) (sensory table and point system) for freshness monitorization and shelf-life prediction for Seriola dumerili
from aquaculture in Madeira Island. Evaluation of appearance, texture, eyes, and gills was performed during 20 days of storage on ice (0 ± 1 °C). The shelf-life prediction was supported by the analysis of microorganisms (total viable colonies, TVC, counts), texture (Torrymeter), and production of trimethylamine (TMA), evaluated by HS-SPME–GC–MS and validated according to Association of Official Analytical Chemists AOAC guidelines. The result is a QIM scheme with 25 demerit points, where zero indicates total freshness. From the integration of sensory analysis, microbial growth at the time of rejection (TVC, 108
and H2S producers, 107
), texture (Torrymeter value < 8), and TMA analyses (>12.5 mg/100 g), shelf-life was estimated as 12 days (±0.5 days). The obtained results show the high-throughput potential of the developed method for fish freshness assessment and shelf-life prediction. This QIM scheme is a secure way to measure quality and provide users with a reliable standardized fish freshness measure.
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