Anisakid nematode larvae (NL) in fish products comprise a risk to human health and, if visible, lead to the rejection of these products by consumers. Therefore, great efforts are being made for the identification of these anisakid larvae to estimate the potential consumer health risk as well as to develop effective detection methods in order to prevent the introduction of heavily infected fish products into the market. The tasks of national reference laboratories include the improvement of detection methods and to promote their further development. As a prerequisite for improved detection, it is important to understand the structural properties of anisakid NL and compounds produced during host-parasite interactions. This review provides an overview of the intrinsic properties of anisakid NL and reports the latest detection methods in published literature. First, in order to define the potentially interesting intrinsic properties of anisakid nematodes for their detection, anatomy and compounds involved in host-parasite interactions are summarised. These can be used for various detection approaches, such as in the medical field or for allergen detection in fish products. In addition, fluorescence characteristics and their use as both established and promising candidates for detection methods, especially in the field of optical sensing technologies, are presented. Finally, different detection and identification methods applied by the fish processing industries and by control laboratories are listed. The review intends to highlight trends and provide suggestions for the development of improved detection and identification methods of anisakid NL in fish products.
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