Expanding populations and limited natural resources are leading to demands for alternative dietary proteins. The world food supply needs to be increased to feed the increasing population with the same limited resources. To overcome the hunger problem, alternative protein sources such as fungal “Mycelium” can be regarded as a novel, sustainable and safe dietary protein to support health with limited resources (water, land) having lower carbon footprint. Although, mycelium is rich in various minerals, vitamin D2, fibers, essential amino acids along with protein, its storage life is relatively short due to its high moisture content (89 % wb). Thus, drying of mycelium would facilitate shelf life enhancement for further processing. Going along the way; cold pressing as a pre-processing step was done to reduce the initial moisture of mycelium so as to reduce the drying time and cost by a significant level. Then, the influence of different drying techniques such as vacuum (VD), microwave (MWD) and freeze (FD) drying methods on quality attributes such as color, microstructure (SEM), water solubility index, water absorption index, bulk and tapped density, and flowability of Pleurotus eryngii was determined. Pressing at 5 N for 30 s reduced drying time by 50-55 % approximately. FD was the most effective which retained the main characteristics of P. eryngii followed by VD and MW. SEM analysis shows that FD sample contains porous fibrous structure whereas MWD and VD sample contains hard structure with less or no pores. Finally, despite the least drying time, MWD and VD damages the structure of P. eryngii whereas nutrient loss is not significant in all the drying processes.
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Effect of different drying methods on quality attributes and microstructure of mycelium (Pleurotus eryngii)
Published: 13 October 2021 by MDPI in The 2nd International Electronic Conference on Foods - "Future Foods and Food Technologies for a Sustainable World" session Poster
Keywords: mycelium; vitamin D2; pressing; drying; SEM.