Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Nutrition and Food Sciences

Document Type



Louisiana is the largest producer of wild-caught catfish, and wild-caught and farmed crawfish in the U.S. Recent regulation changes and outdated policies caused problems for both industries. Regulations forced catfish processors to make major changes. Crawfish inspections detected net weight violations in frozen tail meat based on protocols from the 1990s. The goals of this dissertation were to understand challenges as well as improve overall quality of catfish and crawfish products to help the industries. Pre- and post-compliance surveys were used to assess the impact of USDA regulation on 10 wild-caught catfish processors. Baseline values for microbial analysis on fillets were also determined. To improve catfish fillet quality, skin gelatin and antimicrobial treatments were tested. Regulation survey results indicated catfish facilities improved food safety documentation; however, new compliance rules resulted in reduced hours of operation and processed volume and caused a loss of fishermen. Microbial evaluation from 489 wild-caught catfish samples found acceptable levels (APC: 5.01, E. coli: 0.58, coliforms: 2.16, and S. aureus: 0.73 Log CFU/g) and Salmonella prevalence of 5.3%. Observing at the effect of catfish skin byproduct on the shelf life of catfish fillets, gelatin with potassium sorbate combination resulted in a 15-day shelf life; 6 days longer than the control. To assist the crawfish industry, physical/chemical quality was evaluated under different processing and production systems. Crawfish tail meat yield and nutritional profile comparing two production systems found rice forage resulted in higher tail meat yield, protein, minerals, and fatty acids content. The fat on tail meat results indicated that hot peeled crawfish tail meat had a lower percentage of fat and drip loss than cold peeled, the fat on tail was 1.84% and 3.02%, and drip loss was 4.91% and 7.61%, respectively. In Addition, weight loss increased with frozen storage and when using water bath for thawing. Findings of this work will allow regulators to understand challenges faced by the industry because of policy changes and consider revisions of standards and protocols. Furthermore, byproduct recovery and quality evaluations provide economic opportunities to these industries and will benefit consumers with higher levels of safety and quality products.



Committee Chair

Watts, Evelyn



Available for download on Sunday, June 25, 2028