Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2001
Publication Date: 4/1/2001
Interpretive Summary: Fresh mushrooms are subject to rapid browning and bacterial spoilage, especially if washed to remove unsightly soil fragments. Yet, an effective washing process for mushrooms would increase their value and also increase the efficiency of commercial mushroom grading and handling practices. Research was carried out to optimize a laboratory process for washing and extending the life of fresh mushrooms, using hydrogen peroxide and inhibitors of browning reactions, and to evaluate this process in an experimental, commercial-scale continuous washing line. Mushrooms were pre-washed in 0.5-1% hydrogen peroxide solution to remove soil, then washed in 5% hydrogen peroxide solution to kill spoilage bacteria, and finally sprayed with a sodium erythorbate solution to suppress browning. Storage studies carried out with treated mushrooms and controls indicated that the experimental process was effective in removing soil and yielded mushrooms with a shelf-life at least as good as that of unwashed controls and greatl exceeding that of conventionally washed controls. Efforts to commercialize this process are continuing.
Technical Abstract: An experimental washing process for fresh mushrooms entailing immersion in 5% H2O2, followed by application of a sodium erythorbate-based browning inhibitor, was optimized, scaled up and made continuous. The laboratory process described previously was modified by adding a pre-wash step using 0.5-1% H202, increasing the wash solution H202 concentration from 3 to 5% and substituting 4% sodium erythorbate + 0.1% NaCl for the more complex browning inhibitor formulation used previously. A continuous, commercial- scale washing facility was built to test the new process. Mushrooms washed by this process were free of adhering soil, greatly superior in stability to conventionally washed mushrooms, and at least as stable during storage as unwashed mushrooms.