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ABSTRACT

The firmness of cucumbers brined at 0.2% CaCl2 was retained during fermentation (1 month) and storage (12 months) when 2.6, 4.2 or 5.8% NaCl also was present. Firmness retention was not improved (P≥0.05) during storage by increase in NaCl concentration to 11.9% after fermentation. In the absence of added NaCI, cucumbers were firm after fermentation, but firmness was reduced during storage to 69% of initial for whole cucumbers, 64% for mesocarp tissue, and 32% for endocarp tissue. Addition of uncharacterized softening enzymes. extracted from debris collected at a cucumber grading operation, resulted in softening of cucumbers brined at 1.8% NaCl in the absence of added CaC12. Addition of CaCl2 reduced but did not eliminate softening by ths extract. Results indicated that the firmness of brined cucumbers could be retained at appreciably lower NaCl concentrations than those traditionally used but that the lower limit of NaCl required to prevent softening by possible contaminating enzymes is yet to be established.