Methodology for histamine and biogenic amines analysis. Seafoodplus Traceability

Type Report
Date 2006-02
Language English
Ref. Seafoodplus traceability. project 6.3 - valid
Author(s) Etienne Monique
Abstract Histamine, putrescine, cadaverine, tyramine and agmatine are produced from the decarboxylation of histidine, ornithine, lysine tyrosine and arginine respectively. Histamine is associated of scombroid poisoning in conjonction with the ingestion of some fish species such as tuna, mackerel, sardine, herring,anchovy. The formation of histamine in fish products is directly correlated with the concentration of histidine in the tissue and the level of microorganisms present in the product, due to bacterial histidine decarboxilase action on histidine. The present review is an examination of representative methods used for fishery products rather than a broad review of the multitude of methods available for this goal. Routine analysis, semi-quantitative and quantitative methods for histamine and biogenic amines are briefly described, indicating the technical basis, the equipment and materials required, the strong and weak aspects of the methodology and the adequacy of the method in the distribution chain.
From the histamine and biogenic amines for fish quality assessment, two main conclusions can be withdrawn
1) With regard to quality control methods for scombrotoxin: To ensure the safety regarding histamine it is preferable to use a rapid method to do a screening, even if the method is semi-quantitative. Some convenient immuno-enzymatic kits are commercialised and other techniques such as colorimetric and TLC methods which require a small commitment of equipment and inexpensive reagents can be retained. However it is necessary to define the limits of the chosen method and to validate its reliability in comparison with an official method or a reference method; and in case of doubt regarding the results or in the event of dispute, it would be advisable to specify a reference method which may be used. Nowadays many rapid techniques are available and in the EU regulation it is specify ". Examinations must be carried out in accordance with reliable, scientifically recognized methods, such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).", but there are no reference method for histamine in Europe recognized by the member states. Histamine and biogenic amines are produced by enzymatic reaction, their level increases in the chain, even under chilling condition, so it is important to perform the analysis very quickly after the sampling or when it is possible, depending on the methods, to prepare the acidic extract that can be kept about one week at +4°C. The analysis result should be expressed clearly, i.e.histamine in mg/kg with the reference of the used method and details about the sampling (nature, date, place).
2) With regard to the validation methodology: for histamine numerous methods have been described, a few of them have been studied in interlaboratory trial, some are AOAC Official methods and in Europe there is a reference method since December 2005.
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