On-site Direct Detection of Astaxanthin from Salmon Fillet Using Raman Spectroscopy

Mar Biotechnol (NY). 2017 Apr;19(2):157-163. doi: 10.1007/s10126-017-9739-7. Epub 2017 Apr 4.


A new technology employing Raman spectroscopy is attracting attention as a powerful biochemical technique for the detection of beneficial and functional food nutrients, such as carotenoids and unsaturated fatty acids. This technique allows for the dynamic characterization of food nutrient substances for the rapid determination of food quality. In this study, we attempt to detect and measure astaxanthin from salmon fillets using this technology. The Raman spectra showed specific bands corresponding to the astaxanthin present in salmon and the value of astaxanthin (Raman band, 1518 cm-1) relative to those of protein/lipid (Raman band, 1446 cm-1) in the spectra increased in a dose-dependent manner. A standard curve was constructed by the standard addition method using astaxanthin as the reference standard for its quantification by Raman spectroscopy. The calculation formula was established using the Raman bands typically observed for astaxanthin (i.e., 1518 cm-1). In addition, we examined salmon fillets of different species (Atlantic salmon, coho salmon, and sockeye salmon) and five fillets obtained from the locations (from the head to tail) of an entire Atlantic salmon. Moreover, the sockeye salmon fillet exhibited the highest astaxanthin concentration (14.2 mg/kg), while coho salmon exhibited an intermediate concentration of 7.0 mg/kg. The Raman-based astaxanthin concentration in the five locations of Atlantic salmon was more strongly detected from the fillet closer to the tail. From the results, a rapid, convenient Raman spectroscopic method was developed for the detection of astaxanthin in salmon fillets.

Keywords: Astaxanthin; On-site direct detection; Raman spectroscopy; Salmon fillet.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Food Quality
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry
  • Pigments, Biological / analysis*
  • Salmon / metabolism*
  • Seafood / analysis*
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Xanthophylls / analysis


  • Pigments, Biological
  • Xanthophylls
  • astaxanthine