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Thiaminase, Invasive species, Thiamine deficiency, Food processing, Silver carp


A deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1), an essential cofactor for enzymes involved in metabolic processes, can be caused by the enzyme thiaminase. Thiaminase in food stocks has been linked to morbidity and mortality due to thiamine depletion in many ecologically and economically important species. Thiaminase activity has been detected in certain bacteria, plants, and fish species, including carp. The invasive silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) presents an enormous burden to ecosystems throughout the Mississippi River watershed. Its large biomass and nutritional content offer an attractive possibility as a food source for humans, wild animals, or pets. Additionally, harvesting this fish could alleviate some of the effects of this species on waterways. However, the presence of thiaminase would detract from its value for dietary consumption. Here we confirm the presence of thiaminase in several tissues from silver carp, most notably the viscera, and systematically examine the effects of microwaving, baking, dehydrating, and freeze-drying on thiaminase activity. Certain temperatures and durations of baking and microwaving reduced thiaminase activity to undetectable levels. However, caution should be taken when carp tissue is concentrated by processes without sufficient heat treatment, such as freeze-drying or dehydration, which results in concentration, but not inactivation of the enzyme. The effects of such treatments on the ease of extracting proteins, including thiaminase, and the impact on data interpretation using the 4-nitrothiophenol (4-NTP) thiaminase assay were considered.

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Published by Elsevier B.V. in Current Research in Food Science Volume 6, 2023, 100503

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.