Formation of Biogenic Amines in Herring and Mackerel

Z Lebensm Unters Forsch. 1986 Jun;182(6):459-63. doi: 10.1007/BF01043268.


The formation of biogenic amines (histamine, cadaverine, putrescine and spermidine) was followed during vacuum packed storage at 2 degrees C or 10 degrees C in the scombroid fish mackerel and in the non-scombroid fish herring. Also the changes in the content of free amino acids and in the organoleptic and microbiological qualities were followed. At 10 degrees C the amine contents were 2-20 times higher at the time of rejection as compared with samples stored at 2 degrees C. In herring and mackerel similar amounts of histamine were accumulated, whilst cadaverine was formed at much higher levels in mackerel compared with herring. The high contents of cadaverine in mackerel can possibly explain why mackerel and not herring are often implicated in incidents of scombrotoxic poisoning.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / analysis
  • Animals
  • Biogenic Amines / analysis*
  • Fishes / metabolism*
  • Food Handling*
  • Food Microbiology
  • Food Preservation
  • Species Specificity
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors


  • Amino Acids
  • Biogenic Amines