Quality Factors of Commercial Snail Fillets as Affected by Species
1Department of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment, School of Agricultural Sciences, University of Thessaly, Fytoko Street, 38 446, Nea Ionia Magnesia, Greece
2Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, School of Health Sciences, University of Thessaly, Viopolis, 41500, Larissa, Greece
Received: 2 July 2021
Accepted: 15 April 2022
snail fillets; hardness evaluation; proximate composition; histological structure; colour measurement
Research background. This study fulfils a need for investigation of a quality profile of snail fillets. Edible snails are a famous food product consumed worldwide and treated as delicacy. Nutritional value, colour and textural properties, such as hardness, are critical factors that impact consumer acceptance of the product. Hardness of snail meat is affected by its native original microstructure.
Experimental approach. Fresh snails of the farmed species Cornu aspersum maximum, wild and farmed Cornu aspersum aspersum and wild Helix lucorum were used in order to investigate the qualitative profile of snail meat. Proximate composition, hardness and colour measurements were conducted on fillets of all species. The histological structure of the fillets of Cornu aspersum maximum was examined.
Results and conclusions. Quality parameters of snail fillets were studied. A novel method of hardness analysis was proposed where the cylindrical part of snail fillets from the mid-posterior region with specific geometry 6 mm diameter and 6 mm height was used. The suitability of the mid-posterior region was enhanced by the uniform structure confirmed by the histological analysis. Helix lucorum snail fillet had the highest energy content and the highest hardness but the lowest carbohydrate content. The species Cornu aspersum maximum was evaluated with the highest values of a* (redness), b* (yellowness) and C* (chroma) compared to other species. Parameter L* (lightness) of wild snail fillets was lower than of the farmed ones due to age, diet, farming or environmental conditions, but it could also be related to snail carbohydrate content.
Novelty and scientific contribution. This study yielded notable results on qualitative characteristics of snail fillets as food and important information is given on its meat properties. Furthermore, a novel methodology of hardness is provided in order to minimize natural, breeding and environmental influences. Finally, the research outcomes could lead to proper handling methods for further fabrication of snail meat.
§These authors contributed equally