Trimethylamine N-Oxide in Aquatic Foods

J Agric Food Chem. 2024 Jul 3;72(26):14498-14520. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.4c01974. Epub 2024 Jun 17.


Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a characteristic nonprotein nitrogen compound, is widely present in seafood, which exhibits osmoregulatory effects for marine organisms in vivo and plays an important role in aquaculture and aquatic product preservation. However, much attention has been focused on the negative effect of TMAO since it has recently emerged as a putative promoter of chronic diseases. To get full knowledge and maximize our ability to balance the positive and negative aspects of TMAO, in this review, we comprehensively discuss the TMAO in aquatic products from the aspects of physiological functions for marine organisms, flavor, quality, the conversion of precursors, the influences on human health, and the seafood ingredients interaction consideration. Though the circulating TMAO level is inevitably enhanced after seafood consumption, dietary seafood still exhibits beneficial health effects and may provide nutraceuticals to balance the possible adverse effects of TMAO.

Keywords: TMAO; aquatic foods; flavor; health; preservation; processing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquatic Organisms / chemistry
  • Fishes
  • Humans
  • Methylamines* / analysis
  • Methylamines* / metabolism
  • Seafood* / analysis


  • Methylamines
  • trimethyloxamine