Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Food Science and Human Nutrition


Denise Skonberg

Second Committee Member

Beth Calder

Third Committee Member

Mary Ellen Camire


The European Green Crab (Carcinus maenas) has proven to be a successful invasive predator and has potential to be a valuable food source for human consumption. Due to the small size of green crab, hand picking commercial operations are not feasible. The objectives of this research were to develop uses for this undervalued resource by examining mechanical separation techniques of mince meat; developing a consumer acceptable mince meat product and exploring the functionality of green crab mince meat with additions of restructuring additives. The first part of this research was designed to determine how boil versus steam thermal processing, large (>55 mm carapace width) versus small (<55 mm carapace>width) crab size, and 0.000 versus 0.180 breaker bar setting on the mechanical separator affected green crab mince meat yield and quality. Mechanical processing of green crabs resulted in high mince yield (x = 49.2 %) and low crude lipid content (<1.9 %) which indicates its potential to be economically viable in processing operations and to retain its quality during extended periods of frozen storage. Interestingly, small crabs contained significantly (p < 0.05) more lipid content than large crabs. Proximate analyses showed green crab mince to contain ~10.4 % protein and ~5.1 % ash. Low total volatile base nitrogen (TVBN) and aerobic plate count (APC) values indicate that green crab mince was of good microbial quality. Overall results indicate that small green crabs which were mechanically processed at a 0.000 breaker bar setting, regardless of thermal treatment resulted in the highest mince yield and were easiest to process. The second part of this research focused on the development of a consumer acceptable empanada containing green crab mince and the effects of 30, 50 and 70 % green crab mince by filling weight. Statistical analysis indicated that empanadas containing 30 and 50 % mince had significantly (p < 0.05) higher attribute ratings of filling appearance, flavor and overall acceptability compared to the empanadas with 70 % mince. All of the attribute scores of the 30 and 50 % empanadas approached 'like moderately' which indicates potential for this novel product. Panelist comments indicated that a sauce may be beneficial in enhancing the moistness and crab flavor of the empanadas and many of the panelists would 'probably or definitely buy' green crab and vegetable empanadas if they were available to them locally. The third part of this study determined how additions of transglutaminase, isolated soy protein, dried egg white and their combinations affected the textural profile, color (L*a*b*), cook yield, water-holding capacity and proximate composition of green crab mince patties. Results indicated a significant (p < 0.05) decrease in moisture content and patty hardness, and a non-significant decrease in yield as additions of transglutaminase increased. Additions of isolated soy protein and dried egg white resulted in more significant changes in functionality than transglutaminase alone, although the combination of 5 % isolated soy protein and 2 % transglutaminase appeared to change the functional properties of green crab mince patties most significantly based on textural and proximate analyses.

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