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Removal of Histamine in Fish Sauce by Staphylococcus debuckii sp. Isolated from Fermented Fish

Natthakan Rungraeng1orcid tiny, Kazuhisa Ohtaguchi2 and Teerin Chysirichote3*orcid tiny

1Unit of Food Packaging and Biomaterials, School of Agro-Industry, Mae Fah Luang University, Muang, 57100 Chiang Rai, Thailand

2Department of Chemical Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 2-12-1 Ookayama, Meguro-ku, 152-8550 Tokyo, Japan

3Department of Food Engineering, School of Engineering, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, Ladkrabang, 10520 Bangkok, Thailand

Article history:

Received: 4 November 2022

Accepted: 5 July 2023

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fish sauce; salted fish; Staphylococcus debuckii; biogenic amine


Research background. One of the issues in the production of fish sauce is the legal constraints on the concentration of histamine produced by bacteria during fermentation because it causes allergic reactions in humans. The goal of this study is therefore to eliminate histamine from the final product after fermentation to enhance the quality of fish sauce for consumer safety, manufacturer exportability and domestic sales.

Experimental approach. The bacteria that grow in the histamine medium were isolated from the salted fish. Their ability to degrade histamine in the media with high NaCl content was tested. The bacterium with the highest histamine-degrading ability was identified and the histamine-degrading conditions were optimized, including the incubation temperature and the amount of NaCl in the medium. The regression equation was generated and tested using the local fish sauce in which different concentrations of histamine were added.

Results and conclusions. Among the five bacteria isolated from the salted fish, the isolate with the greatest ability to degrade histamine was identified as Staphylococcus debuckii sp. The study of the capacity of the isolated bacteria to degrade histamine using the synthetic histamine broth (pH=7.0, t=25 °C and NaCl 25 % (m/V)) indicated that they were able to degrade up to 56 % of histamine. The optimization analysis showed that increasing the pH of the medium to 7.5 and lowering the incubation temperature to 20 °C could improve the histamine removal from 56 to 73 %. The generated regression model, validated by the experimental results of histamine removal from fish sauce, showed an acceptable error (not more than 10 %). S. debuckii, the isolated histamine-degrading bacteria, could be used as an inoculum to reduce histamine accumulated in fish products.

Novelty and scientific contribution. The microbiological technique developed here can decrease the histamine concentration in the final product, fish sauce, to improve its quality in terms of food safety and satisfy the histamine regulation requirement. The findings of this study can also be used to treat other liquid foods that contain high concentrations of histamine.

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