This project aims to kick-start a bacteriophage strategy to inhibit the growth of specific spoilage bacteria in Norway lobsters, thus reducing rates of spoiling.
The production of decapod crustaceans is a key economic driver, with production from both aquaculture and fisheries reaching more than 15 million tonnes in 2020. Seafood products in general and particularly products such as langoustines and prawns are highly perishable due to rapid post-harvest bacterial growth.
In this project, we have kick-started a bacteriophage strategy for shelf-life extension of langoustines that is based on the previously demonstrated capacity of specific phages to inhibit the growth of spoilage bacteria in other meat-based products such as pork. To this end, in this project, we evaluated sensory, biochemical and bacteria changes in langoustines stored on ice over time for up to 16 days. Spoilage bacteria were quantified and identified using traditional culture-based methods in parallel with molecular methods (amplicon and shotgut metagenomic sequencing) that have higher sensitivity and can capture non-culturable species that might otherwise be missed. Alongside the mapping of spoilage bacteria over time or ‘culprit bacteria’ the project demonstrated the presence of phages in the collected samples and more importantly showed that the samples contain phages that can actively kill relevant spoilage bacteria. The results from this study position the research team in a unique position to progress with the development of a phage-cocktail for this valuable seafood product.
University of Stirling