Histamine formation in flying fish contaminated with Staphylococcus xylosus


1 Department of Biotechnology, Tajen University, Pingtung, Taiwan, R.O.C

2 Department of Seafood Science, National Kaohsiung Marine University, No. 142, Hai-Chuan Rd. Nan-Tzu, Kaohsiung, 811, Taiwan, R.O.C

3 Department of Hospitality Management, Yu Da University of Science and Technology, Zaoqiao City, Miaoli, Taiwan, R.O.C


Histamine is the main causative agent of scombroid poisoning. However, unlike scombroid fish, histamine poisoning due to consumption of flying fish has never been reported. In this study, the white muscle of flying fish had high levels of free histidine at approximately 423.9 mg/100 g, and was inoculated with Staphylococcus xylosus Q2 isolated from dried flying fish at 5.0 log CFU/g and stored at −20 to 35°C to investigate histamine-related quality. The histamine contents quickly increased to higher than 50 mg/100 g in samples stored at 25 and 35°C within 12 h as well as stored at 15°C within 48 h. However, bacterial growth and histamine formation were controlled by cold storage of the samples at 4°C or below. Once the frozen flying fish samples stored at −20°C for 2 months were thawed and stored at 25°C after 24 h, histamine started to accumulate rapidly (>50 mg/100 g of fish). Therefore, flying fish muscle was a good substrate for histamine formation by bacterial histidine decarboxylation at elevated temperatures (>15°C) when it is contaminated with S. xylosus. In conclusion, since the improperly contaminated flying fish muscle with S. xylosus could lead to production of hazardous levels of histamine over time when stored at temperatures >15°C, the flying fish should be stored below 4 °C or below to control proliferation of S. xylosus, and TVBN and histamine production.