We characterized vacuum-packed whole saury (Cololabis saira) treated using radio-frequency (RF) heating and compared it with that treated using conventional retort heating. RF heating is electrical heating based on dielectric heating. In this study, the effect of RF heating on softening and collagen in backbone was analyzed. RF heating heated the center of fish faster than water. The backbone was softened to a chewable level, and the heating time was shortened to one-third. The amount of crude protein and collagen in backbone decreased with decreasing elasticity, although that heated using RF (131°C) still contained a higher amount than conventional heating. However, β and γ collagen, and then α1 and α2 collagen chain in backbone disappeared with heating; therefore, collagen was degraded to collagen peptide. Results confirmed that RF heating provided wholly eatable fish containing low-molecular collagen peptide in a short heating time.
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