Histamine contents of fermented fish products in Taiwan and isolation of histamine-forming bacteria

Tsai, Y.; Lin, C.; Chien, L.; Lee, T.; Wei, C.; Hwang, D.

Food chemistry 8(1): 64-70


ISSN/ISBN: 0308-8146
DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2005.04.036
Accession: 004437768

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Twenty-seven imported fermented fish products from Southeast Asian countries and sold in the supermarkets in Taiwan, including fish sauce, fish paste and shrimp paste, were tested to determine the occurrence of histamine and histamine-forming bacteria. The levels of pH, salt content, total volatile basic nitrogen, trimethylamine, and aerobic plate count in all samples ranged from 4.8% to 6.5%, 16.2% to 45.3%, 51 to 275 mg/100 g, 5.4 to 53.9 mg/100 g and 1.0 to 4.2 log CFU/g, respectively. The average content for each of eight different biogenic amines in all samples was less than 90 ppm, except for histamine which has an average content of 394 ppm in fish sauce, 263 ppm in fish paste, and 382 ppm in shrimp paste. Most of the tested fermented fish products (92.6%) had histamine levels greater than the FDA guideline of 50 ppm, while seven of them (25.9%) contained >500 ppm of histamine. Although Bacillus coagulans and Bacillus megaterium were identified as the two histamine-producing bacteria capable of producing 13.7 and 8.1 ppm of histamine, respectively, in trypticase soy broth broth supplemented with 1.0% L-histidine, they were not determined to be the main contributors to histamine accumulation in these fermented fish products.