Volume 12 Part 2 Article 71: Control of Bacterial Deterioration in Fresh-Washed Mushrooms

Volume 12 Part 2 Article 71
Year 1989
Title: Control of Bacterial Deterioration in Fresh-Washed Mushrooms
Authors: B.D. Guthrie and R.B. Beelman


In recent years, considerable interest has developed in the U.S. regarding washing freshly harvested mushrooms prior to placing them in retail markets. Washing is performed to improve appearance and consumer appeal by removal of casing materials (soil, peat moss or both) that are usually associated with the mushroom surfaces in varying amounts depending upon the cultural practices employed by the grower (Owens et al., 1982), However, a major problem with the marketing of fresh, washed mushrooms is maintaining the quality of the mushroom through the marketing channels; washed mushrooms usually deteriorate faster than unwashed (dry-packed) mushrooms (Fordyce, 1968; Beelman et al., 1987b).

Efforts to control the deterioration of fresh, washed mushrooms through the use of chemical wash formulations, which include such chemicals as sodium bisulfite and sodium chloride, have been largely unsuccessful in controlling deterioration during storage (Hughes, 1957; Woodmansee, 1964; Halevy and Sylvan, 1966; Fordyce, 1968; Nichols, 1971; Fang and Chiang, 1975 and Dave, 1978). Some researchers speculated that much of the postharvest deterioration of fresh mushrooms was due to the action of spoilage bacteria present in the outer strata of the mushroom tissue that was accelerated by the washing process (Tomkin, 1966; Gandy, 1967; Cameron and Chapell, 1970; Nichols and Hammond, 1973; Dave, 1978). The purpose of this study was to seek improved methods to wash fresh mushrooms. In this regard, emphasis was placed on identifying chemicals that could be used to eliminate the need for, or to improve upon, the use of sulfites for this purpose.

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