Louisiana shrimp fishermen look to innovative Enzyme treatment to prevent blackspot – Fishupdate.com

Louisiana shrimp fishermen look to innovative Enzyme treatment to prevent blackspot Published:  06 July, 2011

In an effort to bring top quality, more eco-friendly  shellfish to market, particularly in light of economic losses from the recent oil spill disaster, New Orleans’ Louisiana’s shrimp industry has begun testing an innovative sulphite-free liquid enzyme treatment to prevent melanosis, or “black spot,” in harvested shellfish. Although harmless, this blackening affects the appearance and market value of the shrimp.

The new treatment, marketed as Prawnfresh Plus, is increasingly being used by shellfish producers around the world, said Karl D. Turner, president of Sea Fresh Solutions LLC, the exclusive distributor of Prawnfresh Plus in North America. The treatment involves dipping the prawns into a tank containing saltwater and Prawnfresh Plus.

John Davis, the managing director of Xyrex Ltd, the manufacturer of Prawnfresh Plus, said this new product will benefit the health of the workers in the fishery as well as public health in general.

“We are delighted that Louisiana shrimp fishermen are now recognising the advantages of using Prawnfresh Plus,” he said. “Karl Turner has worked really hard over recent months to achieve these results despite the setback the oil spill brought to the industry.”

More than a dozen Louisiana shrimp fishermen have participated in trials. Professors at Texas A & M and Louisiana State University have also been enlisted to review and compare Prawnfresh Plus, Turner said, adding that he was encouraged by the results of the tests.

“Prior tests at the University of Glasgow (Scotland) have already demonstrated the benefits of using Prawnfresh Plus as a safe, effective product that helped delay in the onset of melanosis compared with sodium metabisulfite,” Turner said.  He added, “Prawnfresh Plus could prove to be very beneficial to Gulf shrimp fishermen, because it leaves no chemical residues or taints, resulting in a better quality catch that will bring the best possible price.”

The active ingredient in Prawnfresh Plus has achieved GRAS—Generally Recognized as Safe—status in the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  It is also approved for use in the EU, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa.

According to Professor Jon W. Bell of the LSU AgCenter Department of Food Science, who is working with Louisiana shrimp fishermen and processors to develop a new and improved quality standards program for Louisiana shrimp, Prawnfresh Plus “provides a potential opportunity to prevent blackspot formation without the use of sulphites.” Bell noted that, while the active enzyme in Prawnfresh has been shown to prevent the formation of melanosis, “the product itself and its optimal application has not been technically validated for the Louisiana shrimp industry.” Validation studies will be conducted this year.

Turner, the former Executive Director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, pointed out the economic value to the fisherman of producing sulphite-free shrimp.  “Louisiana shrimp harvesters and processors as well as others across the Gulf of Mexico recognize the economic and health benefits to producing sulphite-free shrimp,” he said.

Lance Nacio, owner and operator of a 55-foot, near-shore shrimp factory trawler based in the port of Dulac, Louisiana, who participated in the trials, agrees: “I was amazed at how easy it was to use Prawnfresh Plus, and because it is safe and provides an effective means of producing sulphite-free shrimp, it’s a product we’re going to use on my boat.”