Project number: 2010-707
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $185,763.69
Principal Investigator: Sue Poole
Organisation: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries EcoScience Precinct
Project start/end date: 30 Apr 2010 - 28 Feb 2013


The prawn industry is being challenged to provide prawn product that maintains premium quality throughout an extended storage-life. Significant revenue loss for farmed prawns within the retail sector occurs through product not meeting market colour specification and also severe price reduction near the end of chilled storage life. The losses can be minimised by optimising on-farm production protocols to maintain a consistent colour in farmed prawns during frozen storage and by gaining additional shelf-life of chilled cooked prawns throughout the supply chain.

The opportunity is to introduce a range of technologies, along with widely-adopted proven best practise, that maintains premium quality after cooking and freezing. The technologies will incorporate natural compounds with antimicrobial/antioxidant properties, synergistic packaging, glazing and thereby extend chilled storage-life of the prawn whilst maintaining optimal quality. By maximising astaxanthin level at harvest and reducing degradation during storage, consistent premium red-orange colour of prawns will be assured for the retail market.

This research addresses the Program 3: Improving Farmed Prawn Market Value priority of APFA’s Five Year R&D Plan for the Australian Prawn Farming Industry, 2007-2012. Program 3 seeks to achieve the objective of increasing the average price received for Australian farmed prawns to $16.50/kg.


1. Evaluate the effectiveness of natural extracts as preservation technologies for reducing microbial loads
2. Compare various packaging options which are available commercially and select the most appropriate for synergistic extension storage life and to develop ready-to-go concept products
3. Develop optimised on-farm processing protocols by combining the most suitable natural compounds and packaging to obtain premium quality prawns
4. Summarise current available information on world-wide best practice operations that maximise red colour in cooked prawns
5. Determine rate of astaxanthin loss during processing and frozen storage
6. Establish required astaxanthin level in harvested prawns to retain colour level (APFA 8+) through subsequent long-term frozen storage
7. Identify synergistic benefits of a combination of techniques, including live harvest holding (black tank) and optimal glazing methods on astaxanthin levels and colour retention
8. Extend and illustrate optimal protocols to the industry partners through on-farm trials

Related research


Evaluation of point of care (POC) tests for White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV)

1. Determine the analytical and diagnostic performance characteristics (ASe, ASp, DSe, DSp, repeatability and applicability) of three commercially available immunochromatographic WSSV POC test kits for the detection of WSSV in clinically-affected prawns.
CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory