Meet the WEFTA-award winner of 2019 Mercedes Careche at WEFTA 2022.

Mercedes Careche, is Research Professor at the Institute of Food Science and Technology and Nutrition, in the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). She obtained her PhD in Science from the University Autónoma de Madrid in 1988. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Torry Research Station, Scotland, UK (1988-1990) and a visiting scientist at the University of Surrey (1994-1995), England, UK. She performed short exchange visits to laboratories of Canada, Norway, Italy, Iceland and Germany. She served for 3 years as Scientific and Technical Coordinator of the Food Science and Technology Area within CSIC and before, as Deputy Director of the Instituto del Frío (CSIC). She participated in EU, National and Regional Projects, in EU and International Concerted Actions, as well as in Contracts with Industry.

Her research interests have mainly focused on the Quality and Safety of Seafood, at present centered in the development of technological strategies to reduce the risk posed by Anisakis larvae. She also studied the changes occurring in frozen fish muscle proteins by using vibrational spectroscopy and LF NMR, in order to learn about the mechanisms involved in muscle deterioration and also, to find indicators to assess the shelf life of frozen products. She has been involved in the development of methods to monitor fish freshness and in the development of restructured products with focus on the structural changes of proteins owing to different formulations or thermal conditions. She coauthored more than 110 publications, most of them in international refereed scientific journals (74), and book chapters (19). She is also coauthor of 4 patents, many technical reports to industry, and coeditor of one book. She has supervised several PhD and Master Theses, Graduate Theses and pre-Graduate students.

Strategies to deal with Anisakis: A Look from a Fish Technologist

Mercedes Careche, 1Institute of Food Science, Technology and Nutrition, Spanish National Research Council (ICTAN-CSIC).

Anisakis spp. are nematode parasites that pose a quality and safety problem when they are present in seafood products. Besides being an aesthetic issue, humans may become accidental hosts by eating raw or undercooked fish containing viable Anisakis spp. third-stage larvae, causing infection (i.e. anisakiasis), and allergic responses, the main being gastro-allergic anisakiasis. These allergic reactions can also be elicited by fishery products contaminated with allergens, with no need for live parasites. One of the strategies to reduce the risk posed by Anisakis includes avoiding their presence in the marketed fish, for example, by selecting the zone of capture, improving the screening programs or implementing new methodology for detection of larvae or parasite material. But parasites are unfortunately present in our fish and assuring their inactivation is critical for controlling anisakiasis which in turn is crucial to hinder sensitization to Anisakis, considered to require viable larvae to trigger allergic reactions.

Technology and culinary treatments are key for this, with freezing and cooking being the most relevant. The mortality of Anisakis, fate of their allergens and the quality of the fish products will be affected by the intensity of treatments. Conversely, the Anisakis species, physiology or metabolic status, may have an impact on the effectiveness of a given treatment. Due to the variety of technological situations and fish products, such as fish with different composition or geometries, we need to work towards models of Anisakis mortality that can be coupled with heat transfer simulation tools, so that we are able to expand the results obtained in a given condition to wider scenarios for a more precise risk management. These issues will be addressed in the present talk.