Development of effective drying technology for quality enhancement of whitings fish (Merlangius merlangius)
A cost effective, affordable and environmental friendly solar tent dryer was developed for production of stockfish from Whitings fish (Merlangius merlangius) that is stable and free of contamination from air borne dust and insects. The dryer was constructed of locally available materials; basically steel and polythene. It was able to record an average differential temperature of 12 oC when compared with the ambient condition. The tent dried fresh samples of Whitings of 25 kg with average moisture content of 80.10% (wet basis) to a final weight of 5.42 kg with average moisture content of 10.13% (wet basis) in four days. Over 75 % overall acceptance was recorded when the stockfish was subjected to sensory analysis. The drying technology reduced the bacterial and fungal count of the fish sample used from initial value of 6.8 CFU/g x 102 and 3.6 CFU/g x 105 to 3.9 CFU/g x 102 and 2.7 CFU/g x 105 respectively. This is below the acceptable safe limit and what is obtainable in stockfish sold in the market. The output could be a good alternative to the imported stockfish in terms of food safety and sensory quality. Most importantly, it would reduce the huge amount of money being spent on importation of stockfish, and more job and wealth will be created for the teeming populace while the lovers of stockfish now have access to freshly processed products that would not endanger their life.
Keywords : Stockfish, dryer, sensory, solar, quality