The potential of Pelagic fish by-products in the food industry


Industrial fish by-products are promising sources of valuable bioactive compounds for the food industry.  AQUABIOPRO-FIT has published the first results regarding the characterization of gilthead sea bream and sea bass by-products and the use of PEF for antioxidant extract production.

AQUABIOPRO-FIT aims to promote efficient utilization of pelagic fish side-streams from European fisheries and aquaculture. This is very relevant as a substantial amount of the fish caught and processed is not used for consumer products. Fish backbones, belly flaps, fish fins, gills, heads, liver, roe, skin, viscera, and meat adhered to the bones are considered by-products, which often have the same nutritional compounds as fish products produced for human consumption. Therefore, it is important to recover the nutritional value of fish by-products and incorporate the bioactive compounds into novel food, feed, and other high-value products. This will not only benefit human health, but also contribute to the sector’s overall sustainability by using natural resources more efficiently.

This EU-funded project has published three scientific articles on the nutritional properties of fish side streams and novel processing methods.

Characterisation of Gilthead sea bream
More than half of the total wet weight of the processed gilthead sea bream is not used for consumer products. Centro Tecnológico de la Carne de Galicia and the University of Valencia analysed the nutritional properties of these side streams that are rich in: protein (10%–25% of the total side stream); fat (17%–35% of the total side stream); essential amino acids (41%–49% of total amino acids); omega-3 fatty acids (about 13% of total fatty acids); macro and micro elements, especially i) calcium and phosphorous in head, fishbone, and gills ii) iron and zinc in liver. Access the scientific article here

Characterisation of Sea bass
Fatty-acid, amino-acid, and mineral profile analysis were conducted for the characterization of the chemical composition of sea bass and its side streams. This evaluation measured bioactive compounds levels, associated to human health benefits, to specific by-product types. Particularly, the fish by-products were rich sources of proteins, minerals and unsaturated fatty acids. Access the scientific article here.

Antioxidant extract production with PEF
AQUABIOPRO-FIT is also exploring the application of pulsed electric field (PEF) technology for antioxidant extract production from fish side-streams. The study used residues from the gills, bones and heads from sea bream and sea bass. The findings of the study reveal that water extraction assisted by PEF improved the antioxidant capacity of extracts with respect to water and methanol extracts. This study shows that PEF technology is an environmentally friendly and economic choice for antioxidant-extract production from low-value fish side-streams. Access the full scientific article here

Watch the project video for a quick overview of all aspects of the AQUABIOPRO-FIT projectThe consortium partners are publishing their project results in scientific journals, make sure to visit the AQUABIOPRO-FIT website and sign up for the project newsletter to stay up to date.