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Minimizing Biogenic Amine Formation in Seafoods and Other Commodities


One goal is to develop improved methods for the detection of biogenic amines in a wide variety of foods. Another goal is to evaluate commercially available starter microbial cultures for their production of biogenic amines. A major thrust of the current project will be the use of microbial species known to rapidly produce biogenic amines, to establish the time and temperature limits for key seafood processing and distribution steps, and to ensure minimization of bioamine formation. The results will be used to develop guidelines for the seafood and fermented foods industries.

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Effects of on-board and post-harvest handling parameters on the formation of decomposed and scombrotoxic fish. Biogenic amines, which are formed by bacterial processes associated with spoilage, can have serious health consequences, including life-threatening responses in sensitive individuals. When held for excessive periods of time, the microflora of specific species of fish convert amino acids to biogenic amines (e.g., histamine), which produce characteristic symptoms in humans. Production of scombrotoxins in these fish is dependent on the time and temperature of storage prior to consumption. In addition to seafoods, biogenic amine concerns are also encountered with certain types of cheeses and have been suspected in several cases involving bean sprouts and certain fermented foods.

Hoskin, George
DHHS/FDA - Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition
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