A team of Chilean researchers has created an edible coating that could increase the shelf-life of chilled salmon by up to a week.

Researchers from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC) have developed a new technological solution, already tested with salmon, which inhibits lipid oxidation and slows down growth of microorganisms.

“We have extended shelf-life by up to a week compared to chilled products without this formula. There are significant advantages over other similar alternatives, thanks to the natural active compounds in direct contact with the food,” said Loreto Valenzuela, leader of this project, who is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and Bioprocesses at UC.

Trials have shown that the technology keeps microbiological growth below tolerated limits for up to 22 days when salmon fillets are stored at 0°C.

“Furthermore, the product prevents increases in lipid oxidation of food during storage, which helps to preserve fish colour and quality,” she added.

Valenzuela said that the coating has only been tested with fresh salmon fillets so far, but it will be tried on other salmon products over time. “The next phase is to validate its sensorial properties,” she said.

The new product is an edible coating made of natural ingredients. “It acts as a barrier for oxygen and water, and has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, which prevent microbial growth, oxidation of lipids and dehydration of the fish,” she added.

Finally, the researcher underlined that this technology does not increase packaging or shipping costs.

“On the other hand, it can be applied simultaneously with modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), to increase shelf-life even further,” she concluded.