Author : Erin K. McMurtrie … [et al.].

Source : Journal of Food Science. 84(5)2019:1129-1137

Abstract : Commercial fermentation for bulk preservation of cucumbers relies on natural microbiota and approximately 1 M sodium chloride (NaCl) brines, resulting in large volumes of high‐salt wastewater. An alternative process utilizing 0.1 M calcium chloride (CaCl2) as the only salt was developed to eliminate NaCl from fermentation brines for reduced environmental impact. This study determined the effect of brine acidification on the fermentation microbiota and texture quality of cucumbers fermented in CaCl2 brines. Cucumber fermentations were conducted in sealed glass jars for six independent lots of cucumbers in a randomized complete block design with a full‐factorial treatment structure for brine acidification (acetic acid, hydrochloric acid, or nonacidified) and brining salt (1 M NaCl or 0.1 M CaCl2). Enterobacteriaceae spp. survived longer and were >1 log colony forming units/mL higher in fermenting cucumbers than in brines. Addition of 25 mM acetic acid to fermentation brines (but not the addition of hydrochloric acid at the same pH) reduced Enterobacteriaceae spp. in brines and cucumbers (P < 0.002) during the initiation of fermentation for both brining salts. However, acidification had no effect on texture quality of fermented cucumbers (P = 0.8235). Despite differences in early fermentation microbiota, fermentation of cucumbers in calcium chloride brines under controlled conditions, with or without acidification, resulted in high retention of tissue firmness. These results differ from fermentations in a commercial setting initiated in brines of neutral pH, indicating that production variables, such as air exposure, interact with brining in CaCl2 to negatively affect the texture quality of fermented cucumbers.

Subject : Cucumber. Fermentation. Food preservation. Lactic acid bacteria. Texture.