Location: Food Science Research
Project Number: 6070-41000-008-19-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Oct 1, 2013
End Date: Jun 30, 2016
To determine variability in product texture quality encountered during normal production routines and to determine the causes for the observed softening of CaCl2 brined cucumbers during long term bulk storage in order to guide efforts that may enable storage of these environmentally friendly fermentations for a longer period of time without a negative impact on texture.
A collaborative effort between Mount Olive Pickle Company (MOPCO) in Mount Olive, NC and the USDA-ARS Food Science Research Unit will be necessary to study the impact of commercial production variables on variability in finished product texture quality. Commercial scale cucumber fermentations will be conducted using 1.1% CaCl2 brine and Lactobacillus plantarum starter culture in the large, open-top fiberglass tanks at MOPCO. The usual production variables will be monitored and recorded by MOPCO and data will be provided to the USDA-ARS FSRU. Samples of the raw cucumbers, fermented cucumber brinestock and finished products will be analyzed for texture quality using a puncture test, which has been shown to correlate well with sensory texture attributes. These analyses will be complemented with laboratory research studies to identify the causes of softening during the bulk storage phase.