Grasas y Aceites, Vol 70, No 1 (2019)

Sex and seasonal variation in proximate composition and fatty acid profile of Scomber scombrus (L. 1758) fillets from the Middle East Coast of Tunisia

S. El Oudiani
National Institute of Agricultural Sciences of Tunisia, University of Carthage, Tunisia

I. Chetoui
University of Tunis El Manar, Faculty of Sciences of Tunis, Biology Department, Research Unit of physiology and aquatic environment, Tunisia

C. Darej
National Institute of Agricultural Sciences of Tunisia, University of Carthage, Tunisia

N. Moujahed
National Institute of Agricultural Sciences of Tunisia, University of Carthage, Tunisia


This study investigates the impact of season and sex variations on the total lipid contents and fatty acid composition of Scomber scombrus fillets from the Middle East Coast of Tunisia in order to dertermine the most favorable periods for consumption, and to see if the nutritional quality of the meat depends on the sex of the animal. The effect of fishing season induced significant changes in the lipid profile, and the highest values for total lipids were obtained in the spring for females with 13.2% and for males with 18.9%. The highest values for proteins were obtained in the summer for females with 22.0% and for males with 21.8%. Protein content variations were not significant (p > 0.05). The n-3/n-6 ratio showed a significant level, indicating a tendency toward n-3 fatty acid accumulation in mackerel fillets mainly represented by DHA, whose values were high during the study period for both sexes, except in autumun, which is the period of mackerel gonad maturation, when DHA decreased significantly (p < 0.05), reaching 23.2 and 34.0% for males and females, respectively. It was concluded that Scomber scombrus has high levels of proteins, lipids, and fatty acid contents mainly n-3 PUFA. DHA sex variations were not significant (p > 0.05). The Atherogenicity index (AI) and Thrombogenicity index (TI) were calculated. In our study the AI index was comprised between 0.3 and 0.6 for males and between 0.4 and 0.5 for females. The TI index values ranged from 0.6 to 0.8 for males, and was about 0.6 for females.


Fatty acids; Nutritional quality; Proximate composition; Scomber scombrus; Seasons; Sex

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