Animal Husbandry

ICAR-CIFT Develops Device to Detect Contamination in Market Fish; A Path Breaking Initiative

Pronami Chetia
Pronami Chetia

Fish is a rich and affordable source of good quality protein and other valuable nutrients like polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), vitamins and minerals. But recently, various reports on the marketing of fishes added with harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, ammonia, etc come to the limelight vehemently. Moreover, Formaldehyde is a toxic aldehyde, listed as a cancer-causing agent by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and ammonia while ammonia can lead to hazardous health issues like injuries to mucous membranes of mouth, throat, esophagus, and stomach.

With a path-breaking initiative, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) -Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) has recently developed a low-cost, users’ friendly Paper Strip methods for rapid detection of formaldehyde and ammonia in fishes, as the conventional techniques available for testing these harmful chemicals are time-consuming and erroneous also. Moreover, it’s a unique, simple, low-cost and easy-to-operate device to recognize the freshness of fish in the market.

As per reports, the paper-based disc can be used on packed fish and sell fishes. The paper disc is attached inside the pack without coming in contact with the fish. This will easily absorb the chemical compounds released during the storage period and changes color.

The color change indicates the freshness of fish without any elaborate and costly laboratory tests, says CO Mohan, senior scientist, Fish Processing Division, CIFT.  Moreover, the cost of the test is nominal and will not affect the sale price of fish. This freshness indicator can be used on chilled, refrigerated and iced fish, he added.

Moreover, the use of the freshness indicator is beneficial to both producer/manufacturer and consumer.

The test allows the monitoring of supply chains. There are reports of using adulterants to maintain the freshness of fish, which has affected the business and the trust of consumers.

The freshness of fish is either ensured by sensory attributes or by analytical methods, which is time-consuming, costly and not real-time, Mohan said.

As per reports, consumers who buy inferior quality fish come to know of it only while cooking or consuming. The availability of the low-cost and easy-to-use device will help consumers get good quality fish, while it is helpful for traders to maintain better conditions to retain the freshness.

CIFT scientists K.Elavarasan, Pankaj Kishore, and SK Panda were part of the team that developed this great device.

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