The addition of newly developed starches could help the functional and textural properties of surimi seafood products, according to new research published in the Journal of Food Quality.
“It would be an asset to the industry to find a starch or combination of starches that will provide suitable gel properties in the resulting surimi seafood for both cold and hot serving applications,” wrote the researchers, led by Dr. Jae Park, professor of food science and technology at Oregon State University.
“By understanding the inherent properties of the respective starches, [the] texture of the resulting protein gel can be modified and adjusted to meet particular performance expectations in the final surimi seafood product,” they added.
Surimi – a Japanese word literally meaning "ground meat" – refers to fish-based food products that mimic the texture and colour of crab and lobster meat. It is made from fish protein prepared from white fish flesh that is mixed with ingredients, including starches, egg white and flavourings. Between four and 12 per cent starch is commonly added to surimi.
Starch is normally added to surimi to aid its gel strength, to aid its water-binding ability, and to improve stability during refrigeration or freezing. However, it is also used to alter the textural properties of surimi gel.
Surimi products are eaten both hot and cold, in a variety of dishes, however, very little is known about how ingredients added to the fish product affect its functionality at different temperatures or in different storage conditions, said the Oregon State researchers.
Dr Park and his co-workers reported the overall objective of the project was to “screen five newly developed, modified starches for their use in surimi seafood products compared with native cornstarch” – at four concentration levels (2, 4, 6 and 8 per cent).
The five newly developed starches – from Corn Products International – were tapioca acetylated, phosphated distarch (TAPDS); waxy maize acetylated distarch (WADC); waxy maize hydroxypropylated, phosphated starch (WHPS); and two tapioca hydroxypropylated, phosphated starches (THPS1 and THPS2).
The interaction between starch type and per cent addition contributed to significant differences in starch-fish protein gel values for most variables tested.
The authors observed the best performance of starch addition for all variables tested occurred at concentrations of 6 per cent or less.
The modified starches TAPDS and WADS demonstrated improved textural properties for the fish protein gel at all temperatures (5, 25, 40 and 55oC) and for extended freeze / thaw cycles. TAPDS was also seen to reduce stickiness values of starch-fish protein gels.
The researchers concluded that the addition of modified starches TAPDS and WADS could be added to surimi products at between two and four per cent “in order to minimize textural changes at either hot or cold serving temperatures and also to maintain gel properties … during long-term frozen storage.”
“Further research to evaluate effective concentrations of these modified starches in a blend with native starches commonly used in industry, such as corn and potato starches, is needed to incorporate the unique benefits of each starch type and maximize textural attributes in surimi seafood,” added the authors.
Source: Journal of Food Quality
Volume 33 pages 110 - 118, doi: 10.1111/j.1745-4557.2010.00297.x
“Screening of special starches for use in temperature-tolerant fish protein gels.”
Authors: A. Hunt, K.J. Getty, J.W. Park