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Title: Bag-in-box technology: Storage stability of process-ready, fermented cucumbers

item Fleming, Henry
item THOMPSON, ROGER - 6645-10-00
item McFeeters, Roger

Submitted to: Pickle Pak Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2002
Publication Date: 11/1/2002
Citation: Fleming, H.P., Humphries, E.G., Thompson, R.L., McFeeters, R.F. 2002. Bag-in-box technology: Storage stability of process-ready, fermented cucumbers. Pickle Pak Science. VIII:14-18.

Interpretive Summary: Storage of pickling cucumbers at sufficiently low concentrations of salt to eliminate wastes can result in spoilage if improper conditions are maintained. We found that cucumbers can be safely stored up to 6 months, provided 4% salt concentration is used. Spoilage resulted at 2% salt. The type of plastic in which the brined cucumbers are stored influences storage stability, due to diffusion of oxygen from the atmosphere into the bag, which resulted in growth of spoilage yeasts. This information will be useful in designing brining systems that will minimize waste salt to the benefit of growers and processors of brined cucumbers.

Technical Abstract: Process-ready, fermented cucumbers were microbiologically stable for up to 6 months when held at 4% salt, and up to 12 months when 0.1% sodium benzoate also was present. At 2% salt, some fermentations were unstable at 6 months of storage. Microbial instability was associated with a rise in brine pH (from 3.5 initially), increases in CO2 and acetic acid concentrations, and a decrease in lactic acid concentration. A rise in CO2 concentration was associated with bloater formation. The composition of the bag in which the fermented cucumbers were held influenced the growth of oxidative (film-forming) yeasts in brine near the bag surface. These yeasts seemed to grow to an extent limited by the rate of oxygen permeation through the plastic bag. Ultra-low density polyethylene (3-mil, 4-ply) seemed too oxygen-permeable for extended (several months) storage of the brine-stock in the bags. A polynylon layer in the bag provided a greater but not complete oxygen barrier.