Lambari meat is main ingredient for a new type of fishburger

According to studies carried out in Department of Food Engineering at the Faculty of Animal Science and Food Engineering (FZEA) at USPin Pirassununga, in the interior of São Paulo, led to the emergence of a new type of Fishburgeror one fishburger, made with pink lambari meat, a species that is, on average, 8 centimeters long.

Image: Personal Archive, Jornal da USP

This is not the first time that research carried out at the FZEA has resulted in fishburgers of lambaris or other fish, such as manjuba, for example.

But what is new in this study of the fishing engineer Sinthya Meire Lopes de Araújo Sussel is that the product is made with the meat of lambari-rosa. “This species is not yet fully described and known by science, unlike the red-tailed and yellow-tailed lambaris”, describes Sinthya.

In your research entitled THEmicrobial transglutaminase application in lambari fishburger (Astyanax lacustris), Sinthya used the meat of the lambari-rosa that was mechanically separated, which made it possible to fully use a small fish such as the lambari in industrial processing.

To elaborate the fishburgerthe microbial transglutaminase enzyme was added to the fish meat, which provided a better texture to the product, while the naturally pink color of the mechanically separated meat of this fish species was crucial to please consumers who participated in the sensory tests.

“Acceptance was great and higher compared to fishburgers previously developed by the research group of Professor Judite das Graças Lapa Guimarães, made with manjuba meat and yellow-tailed lambari, mainly in relation to the texture and pink color of the final product”, as he tells the Journal of USP the engineer.

Of the 23 kg of lambari-rosa pulp (CMS), approximately 17 kg were destined for the production of fishburger, which was prepared with an approximate weight of 80 g each. “Of these 17 kg of CMS, we managed to reach 19 kg of fishburger after the addition of spices and microbial transglutaminase enzyme, added in order to improve the texture”, adds Sinthya.

Little known

The pink lambari, as Sinthya reinforces, is a little-known species and not yet described by science. According to the researcher, it is most likely a natural mutation (leucism) of the yellow-tailed lambari, a species that is present in practically all hydrographic basins in Brazil. “With the help of another group of researchers, we analyzed the genetic part and now we are comparing the taxonomic keys, then we will have scientific proof whether it is a new species or really a natural mutation of an existing species”, comments Sinthya.

“We still need to patent the product, but in a short time, if we are interested in the industry, the lambari-rosa fishburger can be found in supermarkets”, he adds.

The other lambaris, red-tailed lambari and yellow-tailed lambari, the best known to fishermen, are more easily found in nature. On the other hand, the pink lambari is more difficult, because, as it has a color that stands out more than the others, it is easily preyed upon. In the Mogi Guaçu River, for example, as Sinthya points out, these fish are abundant, but mainly the yellow-tailed lambari. “The lambaris are often used as bait. In southern Brazil, for example, it is used as a bait in deep sea fishing”, recalls Sinthya.

Performance

Despite using such a small fish, the process of making the fishburger of lambari-rosa had a good yield, about 64.3%, starting from the whole lambari until obtaining the fishburger. According to Sinthya, from a total of 40 kilograms (kg) of whole lambari, after cleaning, which includes peeling, gutting and heading, 27 kg of raw material were obtained. “After going through the mechanical deboning machine to remove the skin and thorns, and producing the mechanically separated meat, we obtained 23 kg of pulp, that is, muscle, from lambari-rosa”, describes the engineer. This represents, according to her, a yield of 56.74% in the process of obtaining Mechanically Separated Meat (CMS).

According to the researcher, around 80% of the commercial production of lambari-rosa in captivity is destined for sport fishing. “This production is mainly carried out by fish farmers using family labor here in the State of São Paulo”, he says. The peeling and evisceration of lambari-rosa for the production of fishburger were made in the city of Mogi Mirim. “From there, we brought it to FZEA, where the rest of the processing was completed,” describes Sinthya.

The master’s study in which the entire production process that resulted in the fishburger de lambari-rosa was financed with funds from the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (Fapesp), process 2018/08920-5, presented in November 2021 and was guided by professors Alessandra Lopes de Oliveira and Judite Lapa Guimarães .

And for the product to reach supermarket shelves, Sinthya assures that the technology is complete and that only interested companies are waiting. “We still need to patent the product, but in a short time, if we are interested in the industry, the fishburger of lambari-rosa can be found in supermarkets”, he assures.

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