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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Food Science and Market Quality and Handling Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #387970

Research Project: Improved Vegetable Processing Methods to Reduce Environmental Impact, Enhance Product Quality and Reduce Food Waste

Location: Food Science and Market Quality and Handling Research Unit

Title: Prevention of microbes-induced spoilage in sodium chloride-free cucumber fermentations employing preservatives

item Perez Diaz, Ilenys
item MEDINA, EDUARDO - Instituto De La Grasa
item Page, Clinton
item Johanningsmeier, Suzanne
item DAUGHTRY, KATHERYNE - North Carolina State University
item MOELLER, LISA - Mount Olive Pickle Company

Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/5/2022
Publication Date: 11/1/2022
Citation: Perez Diaz, I.M., Medina, E., Page, C.A., Johanningsmeier, S.D., Daughtry, K.V., Moeller, L. 2022. Prevention of microbes-induced spoilage in sodium chloride-free cucumber fermentations employing preservatives. Journal of Food Science. 87(11):5054-5069.

Interpretive Summary: The reduction of salt in commercial cucumber fermentation generates microbial instability that often results in spoilage during the long-term-storage of pickles. We studied the prevention of microbial activity in stored fermented cucumbers by preservatives. Three preservatives including sodium benzoate, fumaric acid and allyl-isothiocyanate, effectively prevented spoilage of pickles during long-term-storage. The stabilization of NaCl-free cucumber fermentations enables the expanded implementation of a processing technology that reduces wastewater volumes and environmental impact from chloride discharge.

Technical Abstract: This study evaluated preservatives to stabilize sodium chloride (NaCl)–free-cucumber fermentations. The brining of air-purged laboratory cucumber fermentations with 100.0 mM calcium chloride and 25.0 mM acetic acid resulted in immediate rises in pH, the chemical reduction of the medium, and malodors. Supplementation with 3.0 mM sodium benzoate or 3.0 mM potassium sorbate enabled a decline in pH, a continuous oxidative state of the medium, and delayed rising pH spoilage. However, lactic and acetic acids eventually disappeared in fermentations supplemented with preservatives. The amount of preservatives needed to suppress growth of brined-cucumber-spoilage microbes was determined in Fermented Cucumber Juice Medium (FCJM). Supplementation of FCJM with 10.0 mM sodium benzoate was inhibitory for the spoilage yeasts, Issatchenkia occidentalis and Pichia manshurica, and the lactobacilli, Lentilactobacillus buchneri and Lentilactobacillus parafarraginis, but not of Zygosaccharomyces globiformis. Potassium sorbate inhibited the spoilage yeasts at 15.0 mM in FCJM but not the lactobacilli. Supplementation of FCJM with 20.0 mM fumaric acid had a bactericidal effect on the spoilage-associated lactobacilli. As expected, NaCl-free-commercial cucumber fermentations brined with 100 mM calcium chloride, no acetic acid, and 6 mM potassium sorbate resulted in complete fermentations, but supported rising pH, microbially induced spoilage during long-term storage. Post-fermentation supplementation with 12 mM sodium benzoate, 10 mM fumaric acid, a combination of the two, or 10 mM fumaric acid and 2 mM AITC prevented microbial activity during long-term bulk storage.