Adenosine triphosphate breakdown products as a freshness indicator of some fish species and fish products: Dissertation

Tapani Hattula

Research output: ThesisDissertationCollection of Articles

2 Citations (Scopus)


The breakdown products of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), adenosine diphosphate (ADP), adenosine monophosphate (AMP), inosine mono-phosphate (IMP), inosine (Ino) and hypoxanthine (Hx) of some fish species and heated fish products were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and rapid paper strip method. The K value, calculated from ATP degradation products, the percent of the sum of Ino and Hx divided by the sum of ATP, ADP, AMP, IMP, Ino and Hx increased almost linearly in the muscle of all Finnish fish species studied, when stored on ice. There were some variations of K value among fish species and also between individuals of the same fish species, while K-value did not depend on the location of whitefish fillets. The K value of cold smoked rainbow trout increased similarly to that of unheated fish. In hot smoked fish (whitefish, mackerel and rainbow trout) the K-value increased during heating but not at all after subsequent storage in a chill room. The sous vide (final internal temperature 73°C) treated whitefish behaved like the hot smoked fish species. The K value of rainbow trout increased more slowly during heating than the K value of other fish species (Baltic herring, whitefish and mackerel) and in the case of the hot smoked rainbow trout the K value could be an indicator of the freshness of the raw material used. The low K value could possibly be used as evidence of really fresh fish. The K value was used as a criterion when comparing the effects of catching method on the quality of Baltic herring. The K values of gillnet-caught fish were greater than those of fish caught by trapnet or by trawling. The duration of trawling time (2 h and 5 h) did not effect the K value when the water temperature was 8 16 °C. An intercalibration study was performed with 23 municipal laboratories, which used the K-value, determined by means of the HPLC method or rapid paper strip method, as a criterion for fresh, frozen, and frozen fish stored on ice for 7 days before freezing. The paper strip method correlated quite well with the sensory quality of fish while the relationship between K-value determined by HPLC and by the paper strip method was not very good. The determination of ATP breakdown products and the calculation of K-value are relevant chemical methods for evaluation of the freshness of fish. However, there is a certain variation between individual fishes and between fish species.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor Degree
Awarding Institution
  • University of Helsinki
  • Kiesvaara, Martti, Supervisor, External person
  • Mälkki, Yrjö, Supervisor, External person
Award date14 Mar 1997
Place of PublicationEspoo
Print ISBNs951-38-4955-4
Electronic ISBNs951-38-5063-3
Publication statusPublished - 1997
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • adenosine phosphates
  • chemical indicators
  • freshness
  • fishes
  • fish
  • products
  • herrings
  • trout
  • chromatography
  • methods
  • laboratory tests
  • food industry
  • quality


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