Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Ecology

Major Professor

Marjorie P. Penfield

Committee Members

Curtis C. Melton, Nina Marable, Roger Swagler


Energy and time conservation in food preparation is of concern to consumers and the microwave oven is one appliance that has been credited with energy and time savings. Although consumption of fish by consumers has been increasing, little has been reported on the microwave-cooking of fish. Therefore, an investigation was designed to compare the energy requirements of, the effects of heating on, and the acceptability of turbot, an underutilized species of fish, cooked in a microwave oven with that baked conventionally.

The microwave oven cooked the fish significantly faster, required less cooking power and energy, and demonstrated greater relative efficiency than did the conventional oven. The evaporative loss was less, and the solid-drip loss and total cooking losses were greater for fish cooked in the microwave oven than were those for fish heated conventionally. Kramer shear values for the conventionally heated turbot were higher than those for the microwave-heated fish.

A 7-member trained sensory panel found no differences in flakiness and moistness of the turbot cooked in the 2 ovens; but found that microwave-heated fish was softer and less chewy than was the conventionally heated fish. Differences were found also due to replication, panelist, and interactions.

Significant relationships were found between sensory scores for hardness and chewiness and between sensory flakiness and 3 measurements: fillet section thickness, raw weight, and raw moisture content. Hardness and chewiness were each related to Kramer shear values, solid-drip loss, and total cooking losses.

A 39-member consumer panel indicated no significant difference (P = 0.08) in acceptability of turbot heated by the 2 cooking methods. Samples were rated in the middle of a 9-point hedonic scale. Most of the consumer panelists reported that they ate fish at least 2-3 times per month, generally baked or broiled it, and ate fish in restaurants almost as much as they did at home. Out of 12 fish species, cusk, monk-fish, orange roughy, and sculpin were species with which respondents were least familiar.

In conclusion, microwave cooking of turbot was more time and energy efficient than was conventional cooking and resulted in turbot of comparable eating quality.

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