Academic article

Impact of starvation and handling stress on rigor development and quality of Atlantic salmon (Salmon salar L)

Mørkøre, Turid; Mazo Traversi, Pablo Ignacio; Tahirovic, Vildana; Einen, Olai

Publication details

Journal: Aquaculture, vol. 277, p. 231–238–8, 2008

Publisher: Elsevier

Issue: 3-4

International Standard Numbers:
Printed: 0044-8486
Electronic: 1873-5622

Open Access: none


Farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L) were fed to satiation or starved for 35 d, and subjected to acute pre-slaughter stress or careful handling before slaughtering. Rigor development, post-mortem energy metabolism and quality variations were analysed during 72 h cold storage. The body weight averaged 2.9 and 3.5 kg of the fed and starved salmon, respectively. The starved salmon had lower condition factor (0.99 vs.1.11) and higher slaughter yield (92.6 vs. 87.5%), but the fat content was similar (11.8-12.9%) in the fed and starved salmon. The initial glycogen level was lower in the starved salmon (71 vs. 29 mu mol g(-1)), whereas initial ATP levels (6.4-6.6 mu mol g(-1)) were not affected by starvation. Pre-slaughter stress accelerated rigor development, stimulated lactate formation through post-mortem glycolysis, and increased the breakdown of ATP and CP. The effect of stress on rigor development was less pronounced in starved salmon, and a significant interaction was observed between nutritional status and stress. Rigor development was closely correlated to ATP breakdown, especially in fillets. Acute stress accelerated flesh softening during ice storage. After 72 h storage, the fillets of the starved salmon exposed to careful slaughter handling had the significantly firmest texture, whereas the most intense fillet colour was observed in the starved/stressed salmon. Liquid leakage from the muscle during cold storage was lower in the starved salmon, but pre-slaughter stress had no significant impact. It is concluded that a starvation period of five weeks can improve the resistant to acute stress prior to slaughtering of Atlantic salmon that in turn hampers rigor development. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.