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Trends in Food Science & Technology
Volume 120, 2022, Pages 236-247

The evolution of knowledge on seafood spoilage microbiota from the 20th to the 21st century: Have we finished or just begun?

Dimitrios A. Anagnostopoulos, Foteini F. Parlapani, Ioannis S. Boziaris

Laboratory of Marketing and Technology of Aquatic Products and Foods, Department of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment, School of Agricultural Sciences, University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece.



The modern dietary trends have led to a continuously increasing demand for seafood. Both high quality and extended shelf-life of seafood is required to satisfy the nowadays dietary tendency, as well as the industrial interest to increase the added value of such products. However, microbial spoilage is the main factor linked with the rapid seafood sensorial degradation, resulting in high food losses along the production and distribution chain and thus, noteworthy economic losses for seafood producingcountries. In the past, the low technological capability permitted a limited and non-representative study of microbial community and thus, the results of spoilage-related microbiota present in seafood, were led to both insufficient and disputed conclusions.

Scope and approach

The scope of the present review is to evaluate how method development has improved our understanding on seafood spoilage microbiota during the past decades, discussing in parallel the current/emerging trends, as well as what could be recommended for future research efforts.

Key findings and conclusions

The advent of novel molecular technologies, mainly high throughput sequencing (HTS) set of techniques, has changed our approach regarding the study of seafood microbiota, enriching our knowledge in this field. For improving and/or ensuring seafood quality along seafood value chain, the scientific community has now the option of using such modern tools to explore and understand the complex plenomena taking place during seafood spoilage.The study of seafood microbiota changes during processing, storage and distribution, in combination with the “meta-omics” approaches, is the key to unveil the functionalities in such complicated food matrix. In the current decade, the scientific community faces the challenge to establish novel and intelligent strategies that could prevent seafood spoilage as well as to extend or even predict the shelf-life of seafood. The contribution of multi-omics is expected to enhance this attempt. Those strategies will lead to the production of high quality added value seafood, in order to meet consumers’ demands.

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