Understanding the influence of state/phase transitions on ice recrystallization in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) during frozen storage

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  • Temperature fluctuations during storage and distribution of frozen foods lead to ice recrystallization and microstructural modifications that can affect food quality. Low temperature transitions may occur in frozen foods due to temperature fluctuations, resulting in less viscous and partially melted food matrices. This study systematically investigated the influence of state/phase transitions and temperature fluctuations on ice recrystallization during the frozen storage of salmon fillets. Using a modulated differential scanning calorimeter, we identified the characteristics glass transition temperature (Tg′) of −27 °C and the onset temperature for ice crystal melting (Tm′) of −17 °C in salmon. The temperature of salmon fillets in sealed plastic trays was lowered to −35 °C in a freezer to achieve the glassy state. The temperature (T) of frozen salmon fillets in sealed plastic trays was modulated to achieve a rubbery state (T > Tm′), a partially freeze-concentrated state (Tg′ < T < Tm′) and a glassy state (T < Tg′). We performed temperature modulation experiments by exposing packaged salmon to room temperature twice a day for 2 to 26 min during 4 weeks of storage. We also analyzed ice crystal morphology using environmental scanning electron microscopy and X-ray computed tomography techniques to observe the pore distribution after sublimation of ice crystals. Melt–refreeze and isomass rounding mechanisms of ice recrystallization were noticed in the frozen salmon subjected to temperature modulations. Results show that ice crystal growth occurred even in the glassy state of frozen salmon during storage, with or without temperature fluctuations. Ice crystal size in frozen salmon was greater in the rubbery state (T > Tm′) due to the increased mobility of unfrozen water compared to the glassy state. The morphological/geometric parameters of ice crystals in frozen salmon stored for 1 month differed significantly from those in 0-day storage. These findings are important to the frozen food industry because they can help optimize storage and distribution conditions and minimize quality loss of frozen salmon due to recrystallization.

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    Article (Draft / Submitted)
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    © 2012 Springer. The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11483-011-9243-y
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    • Syamaladevi, R. M., Manahiloh, K. N., Muhunthan, B., & Sablani, S. S. (2012). Understanding the influence of state/phase transitions on ice recrystallization in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) during frozen storage. Food Biophysics, 7(1), 57-71. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11483-011-9243-y
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