Analysis of the off-flavor risk in carp production in ponds in Dombes and Forez (France)
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Off-flavors represent one of the most economically significant problems encountered in continental aquaculture. The appearance of a repulsive odor, or taste, in fish may cause a major reduction in the consumption of the products. Carp farmers and processors are aware of this problem and wish to keep it under control. A first cross-disciplinary study was carried out in France in 2002–2003, following three approaches: (1) estimation of water quality and composition of the phytoplankton community in carp ponds, (2) sensory analysis of carp, (3) quantification of odoriferous volatile compounds in carp. The results show that strongly off-flavor carp were found in ponds colonized by cyanobacteria, mainly Anabaena spp. in summer. The quantification of odorous compounds was not effective in the fish samples, but sensory evaluation confirmed the existence of off-flavors in the carp tested. The most commonly used descriptors associated with geosmin, referred to a waste water, earthy/musty odor and taste, were those identified by the panel of testers. Such results led us towards a new strategy of carp fishing, stocking and processing during the summer.
KeywordsCommon carp Cyanobacteria Geosmin Off-flavor Sensory evaluation Water quality
This study was carried out with funding from the French Ministry of Agriculture, OFIMER and Rhône-Alpes Region. The authors would like to thank the fish farmers for their collaboration, Laurent Debrauwer (INRA, Toulouse) for his help in mass spectrometry analyses and Jean-Christophe Perrin (Les Maisons du Goût, Bourg en Bresse) for his help in sensorial analyses.
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