This study assessed the application of an antibrowning solution using vacuum impregnation (VI) and then electron-beam irradiation as a means to extend the shelf life of sliced white button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus). A preliminary study helped to determine the best antibrowning solution and VI process parameters. Mushroom slices were impregnated with 2 g/100 g ascorbic acid + 1 g/100 g calcium lactate; 2 g/100 g citric acid + 1 g/100 g calcium lactate; 1 g/100 g chitosan + 1 g/100 g calcium lactate; and 1 g/100 g calcium lactate at different vacuum pressures and times and atmospheric restoration times. Selection of the antibrowning solution and VI parameters was based on texture and color of the mushroom slices. Next, the slices were irradiated at 1 kGy using a 1.35-MeV e-beam accelerator. Physicochemical, sensory, and microbial quality of mushrooms was monitored for 15 d at 4 °C. The best impregnation process in this study was 2 g/100 g ascorbic acid and 1 g/100 g calcium lactate at 50 mm Hg for 5 min and an atmospheric restoration time of 5 min. The control (untreated) samples suffered structural losses throughout storage. Only the vacuum impregnated-irradiated samples had acceptable color by the end of storage. Sensory panelists consistently preferred the samples produced with VI and irradiation because exposure to ionizing radiation inhibited growth of spoilage microorganisms.
Extending the shelf life of mushrooms is important for their marketing and distribution and reliable preservation methods are still needed. Treating sliced mushrooms with vacuum impregnation and electron-beam irradiation introduces physiologically active components such as beneficial antioxidants, vitamins, and cations, while assuring safety and maintaining quality.