Analysis of volatile compounds, proximate composition, and fatty acids in Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis)

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Virginia Tech


Pacific bluefin tuna (PBT; Thunnus orientalis) has grown significantly in popularity in recent years due to the globalization of Japanese cuisine. PBT is highly sought after for sushi and sashimi products due to its great quality and taste. Wild populations of this species have been affected by their increasing popularity, pushing innovators in the food industry to create meat alternative versions of PBT. The muscle composition of PBT varies, leading to different types (cuts) of meat in a way that is analogous to various cuts of beef. This study evaluated the differentiation amongst the 6 distinct cuts, including otoro, ventral akami, dorsal akami, ventral chu-toro, dorsal chu-toro, and wakaremi conducting volatile analysis, proximate analysis, and fatty acid analysis. The results from these analyses can then be used as a base standard for companies seeking to create alternatives versions of PBT. Samples analyzed in this study were cultured PBT species that were caught as juveniles and raised in captivity on a PBT farm in Mexico. Volatile analysis was conducted using a SPME GC/MS method. Overall, 41 aroma compounds were identified in PBT that met the identification criteria, including 9 aldehydes, 7 alcohols, 14 alkanes, 2 ketones, 4 alkenes, 3 aromatic compounds, and 2 miscellaneous compounds. Proximate analyses were conducted using standard methods. Significant differences (p <0.05) were found between each cut for the proximate analysis. The fatty acid analysis determined that there were twenty-two identifiable fatty acids found in the different cuts. The omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) with DHA being present at a higher amount than EPA in each cut. Overall, there are similarities and differences among the different cuts of bluefin tuna that researchers would need to mimic to provide adequate nutritional and sensorial properties of PBT.



bluefin tuna, fatty acid, EPA, DHA, proximate composition, volatile analysis