Food Res Int. 2023 Oct;172:113123. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2023.113123. Epub 2023 Jun 12.
Changes of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) patterns during 6 days of storage at +4 °C were investigated in different freshwater fish species, namely carp and trout, using dynamic headspace gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry (DHS-GC-TOFMS). DHS parameters were systematically optimized to establish optimum extraction and pre-concentration of VOCs. Moreover, different sample preparation methods were tested: mincing with a manual meat grinder, as well as mincing plus homogenization with a handheld homogenizer both without and with water addition. The addition of water during sample preparation led to pronounced changes of the volatile profiles, depending on the molecular structure and lipophilicity of the analytes, resulting in losses of up to 98 % of more lipophilic compounds (logP > 3). The optimized method was applied to trout and carp. Trout samples of different storage days were compared using univariate (Mann-Whitney U test, fold change calculation) and multivariate (OPLS-DA) statistics. 37 potential spoilage markers were selected; for 11 compounds identity could be confirmed via measurement of authentic standards and 10 compounds were identified by library spectrum match. 22 compounds were also found to be statistically significant spoilage markers in carp. Merging results of the different statistical approaches, the list of 37 compounds could be narrowed down to the 14 most suitable for trout spoilage assessment. This study comprises a systematic evaluation of the capabilities of DHS-GC coupled to high-resolution (HR) MS for studying spoilage in different freshwater fish species, including a comprehensive data evaluation workflow.