Study highlights potential for omega-3 enrichment of surimi

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Addition of omega-3- rich oils, such as flaxseed, algae, menhaden, and krill, may have potential in developing nutritionally enhanced surimi-based products, according to new research.

The study, published in Food Chemistry​, suggests that the addition of flaxseed, algae, menhaden, krill, or blended oils can increase omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in surimi seafood – offering potential for use as functional or nutraceutical foods. However, the researchers added that surimi products with enriched higher levels of omega-3 oils suffered from greater levels of lipid oxidation, which may lead to the development of rancid tastes.

“Since surimi seafood is traditionally marketed as a low fat and high protein source, this approach allowed nutrification of surimi products with health-beneficial omega-3 PUFAs without changing protein content or majorly altering texture, while improving colour,”​ said the authors, led by Dr Jacek Jaczynski, from West Virginia University, USA.

“Although the results of this study point towards the potential for a novel, marketable nutraceutical food product, sensory and storage stability tests are recommended,” ​they added.

Healthy surimi

Food products enriched with omage-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are in increasing demand due to demonstrated health benefits.

Jaczynski and colleagues said that foods enriched with omega-3 PUFAs “provide a means to achieve desired biochemical effects of these nutrients without the ingestion of dietary supplements, medications or a major change in dietary habits.”

“Since surimi seafood comprises formulated food products associated with marine sources of wide acceptance, it is a logical vehicle for increasing the consumption of omega-3 PUFAs without the need for dietary supplements in a pill or capsule form,”​ they added.

However, one potential consequence of omega-3 fortification is increased lipid oxidation, which may lead to rancidity, texture and colour deterioration, said Jaczynski and co-workers.

In the new study, surimi seafood was nutritionally-enhanced with omega-3 PUFAs-rich oils including flaxseed, algae, menhaden, krill and a blend (flaxseed:algae:krill, 8:1:1) to test the chemical characterization and oxidation stratus of omega-3 fatty acids in surimi products and to determine the physicochemical properties (colour and texture) of the omega-3-enhanced surimi seafood.

Study details

The authors reported that surimi gels enriched with omega-3-rich oils contained significantly more total omage-3 PUFAs than enrichment with corn oil or no enrichment.

Omega-3-rich surimi also contained significantly less total omega-6 PUFAs than the corn oil treatment.

Jaczynski and colleagues added that the concentration of alpha-linolenic (ALA), eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids varied significantly depending on the type of oil added.

Texture analysis showed that enrichment with omega-3 PUFAs did not affect texture, whilst the colour properties of enriched surimi seafood were reported to be “generally improved, except when krill oil or blend was added.”

However, the research team also noted that enrichment resulted in increased susceptibility of surimi seafood to lipid oxidation, though they noted that the majority of the enrichments fell within ranges ‘acceptable’ to consumers.

“Experimental surimi gels with flaxseed, algae and blend oils had TBARS ​[lipid oxidation] valueslower than krill oil, but higher than surimi with no oil, corn or menhaden oil,”​ noted the research team.

Source: Food Chemistry
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2011.05.044
“Chemical properties of surimi seafood nutrified with ω-3 rich oils”
Authors: B.N. Pietrowski, R. Tahergorabi, K.E. Matak, J.C. Tou, J. Jaczynski

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