Effects of post harvest handling on quality and sensory attributes of sardines: a case study of Musoma district

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


Sardines in Tanzania are small pelagic fish eaten in a dried form mainly by the poor and middle-income groups. The main objective of this research was to assess the influence of postharvest handling of sardines from Lake Victoria and its effects on the quality and sensory attributes of the final product. Cross-sectional and factorial designs were used to collect data for field survey and laboratory analyses, respectively. Ninety three respondents were involved in the survey to assess post harvest handling practices in the study area. The study identified unhygienic handling practices, insufficient drying time, poor storage, poor packaging and distribution as the contributing factors for spoilage. Sardines were dried by traditional and improved methods at different levels of salt concentrations (0, 6, and 10%) and loading densities (5 and 10kg/m2). After drying for 36h the proximate composition of dried sardines by (1) traditional method was 16.43-74.5% moisture, 57.79-64.9% protein, 14.78-17.1% fat, 14.2-23.09% ash and 3.8-4.34% carbohydrate; and (2) improved method was 15.13-74.5% moisture, 59.05-64.9% protein, 15.64-17.1% fat, 14.2-20.66% ash and 3.8-4.65% carbohydrate. The improved method showed relatively low microbiological count (3.75 -5.02 Log CFU/g) compared to the traditional method (4.24-6.13 Log CFU/g). For the sensory evaluation no significant difference (P > 0.05) observed between the improved method and commercial sardines from Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa in terms of colour, taste, smell and general acceptability. However, a significant difference (P< 0.05) in colour, texture and general acceptability was observed in traditional dried sardines and commercial sardines from Lake Victoria and the Indian Ocean. Commercial sardines from Lake Tanganyika and Nyasa were similar to sardines dried by the improved method in this study and were highly accepted in all sensory attributes. For both methods, sardines dried by the improved method had higher nutrient contents than those from the traditional method.



Sardines, Fish harvest, Small pelagic fish, Lake Victoria, Musoma district, Tanzania, Post-harvest handling