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SOKOINE UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE

FACULTY OF AGRICULTURE
DEPARTMENT OF FOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DEGREE PROGRAMME: B.Sc. FOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
COURSE: APPLIED FOOD BIOTECHNOLOGY
COURSE ANTE: FT 301

MAKING FERMENTED PICKLES
PRACTICAL 1

GROUP 5
S/N
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

NAME
MLISHIDI SHABANI
AMBILIKILE ,ISAYA FABIAN
ISMAIL, ABUBAKAR MWAMBE
LYMO,EDWIN ZACHARIA
GODWIN,IBRAHIM NGASIGWA
SYIKILILI,LILIAN MUSSA

REG. NUMBER
FST/D/2013/0037
FST/D/2013/0019
FST/D/2013/0072
FST/D/2013/0017
FST/D/2013/0005
FST/D/2013/0055

SIGN

INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Tiisekwa, B.P.M.
SUBMISSION DATE: 26th February, 2016

INTRODUCTION
Pickles are usually made from a mixture of vegetables and fruit. They are eaten as a savoury,
spicy accompaniment to a meal. Pickles are preserved by a combination of increased acidity
(reduced pH), added salt, reduced moisture and added spices. Pickles can be prepared using one
of two main methods: lactic acid fermentation of vegetables, either with or without the addition
of salt the preservation of vegetables in acetic acid (vinegar). The products made by these two
methods are very different -each one has its own distinctive taste and texture. Vegetables such as
cucumber, cabbage, olive and onion are fermented by lactic acid bacteria which can grow in low
concentrations of salt. The bacteria ferment sugars in the food to form lactic acid, which then
prevents the growth of food poisoning bacteria and moulds. The amount of salt added controls
the type and rate of the fermentation. If 2-5% salt is used, the fermentation is carried out by a
series of bacteria that produce lactic acid. The pickle is preserved by the high level of acidity. If
higher levels of salt are used (up to 16%) the product is preserved by the high salt concentration
rather than by fermentation and is known as a salt-stock pickle. Fruit and vegetables can be semiprocessed and stored for many months by preserving in a high salt solution. They can be further
processed into pickle later in the season. Sometimes sugar is added to increase the rate of
fermentation or to make the product sweeter. Pickles prepared by fermentation are not heated,
therefore strict attention must be paid to cleanliness and hygiene. The concentration of salt, pH of
the mixture and temperature of fermentation must all be controlled to ensure a good fermentation
and to prevent the growth of undesirable bacteria. Vegetables pickled in acetic acid (vinegar)
have salt and sugar added. They are not fermented and therefore have a different texture and
flavour (Islami, 2009).

TYPES OF PICKLES
Pickle products are classified on the basis of ingredients used and the method of preparation.
There are two general classes:
i.

Fermented or brined

Fermented pickles or brined pickles undergo a curing process for several weeks in which
fermentative bacteria produce acids necessary for the preservation process. These bacteria also
generate flavor compounds which are associated with fermented pickles. Other vegetables may
be fermented, such as using cabbage to produce sauerkraut.
Initial fermentation may be followed by the addition of acid to produce such products as half
dills or sweet gherkins.

ii.

Fresh-pack or quick process

Fresh-pack or quick process pickles (i.e., whole cucumber dills, crosscut cucumber slices, breadand-butter pickles) are made by the addition of an acid such as vinegar and not by the natural
fermentation of the vegetable. The tart flavor of these easily prepared products is due to the
acetic acid in vinegar.
Fruit pickles are also made using a fresh-pack or quick process. These are usually prepared from
whole fruits or smaller pieces and simmered in a spicy, sweet-sour syrup. Fruits such as peaches,
pears, and watermelon rind may be used.

METHODOLOGY
i.

Equipment’s needed

For measuring: measuring cups and spoon. You will need household scales ingredients are
specified by weight.
For fermentation: Suitable containers, covers, and weights: food –grade plastics and glass
containers are excellent substitutes for stone crocks.Non-food grade plastic containers may be
used lined with a clean food grade plastic bag. Caution: Be certain that foods contact only food
grade plastic
Mango, cabbage and cucumbers must be kept 1 to 2 inches under brine while fermenting. After
adding prepared vegetables and brine, insert a suitably sized dinner plate or glass pie plate inside
the fermentation container. The plate must be slightly smaller than the container opening, yet
large enough to cover most of the shredded cabbage or cucumbers. To keep the plate under the
brine place 2 to 3 sealed quarter jars filled with water on the plate. Covering the container
opening with a clean, heavy bath towel helps to prevent contamination from insects and moulds
while the water, and rinsed well with very hot water before use.
For heating pickling liquids: Use unchipped enamelware, stainless steel, aluminium, r glass
pans for heating pickling liquids.do not use copper, iron, or galvanized utensils. The metals may
react with acids or salts and cause undesirable colours and flavours, or even toxic compounds in
the pickle mixture.
For packing the pickles: use standard canning jars free of chips, cracks, or nicks which could
prevent an airtight seal. Have the jars clean and hot when packing them prior to heating process.
Thoroughly wash, scald, and keep the jars hot; or if you have a dishwasher, put the jars through
the complete cycle. Two – piece, sealing lids are widely used type of sealing device.
The lids can be used only once.

For processing the pickles: heat process all pickle product in boiling water bath to destroy
yeast, mould, and bacteria that cause product spoilage and to inactivate enzymes that may affect
colour, flavour, and texture of the pickle product. Heat processing pickles also ensures a good
seal on the jar. Any large pan that allow jars standing on a rack to be covered by 1 -2 inches of
boiling water may be used as water bath canner.
Other equipment: This may include measuring spoons, measuring cups, knives, jar lifters, tongs
or mitts and wooden boards or folded newspapers on which to place hot jars.

ii.

Preparation of salt solution
10% salt solution was prepared by dissolving 500g of salt in 5000ml of water.

iii.

Procedures for making Cabbage and Mbilimbi pickles

The procedures for making cabbage and mbilimbi pickle are as per practical handout

TABLE OF RESULTS
Type of pickle
Cabbage
Mbilimbi

PH AFTER 2 DAYS
4.27
1.36

PH AFTER 4 DAYS
3.72
1.23

DISCUSSION
For both Cabbage and Mbilimbi pickles the fall in PH is due to production of acids by lactic acid
bacteria, the produced acid gives pickles their characteristic sour tang and controls the spread of
spoilage microbes.

1. PICKLING INVOLVES NATURAL OR SPONTANEOUS FERMENTATION. HOW
DOES THE PRINCIPAL OF MICROBIAL SUCCESSION WORK IN HERE?
Pickling is the process of preserving or expanding the lifespan of food by either anaerobic
fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar. The resulting food is called a pickle, or, to prevent
ambiguity, prefaced with the adjective pickled. The pickling procedure will typically affect the
food's texture and flavour (Chou, 2003). Pickling can preserve perishable foods for months. If
the food contains sufficient moisture, pickling brine may be produced simply by adding dry salt.
Natural fermentation at room temperature, by lactic acid bacteria, produces the required acidity.
Other pickles are made by placing vegetables in vinegar. The acidity or salinity of the solution,

the temperature of fermentation, and the exclusion of oxygen determine which microorganisms
dominate, and determine the flavour of the end product. During the process traditionally a
spontaneous fermentation process occurs. Generally, the lactic acid bacteria(LAB) isolated from
the spontaneous pickle fermentation are Lactobacillus plantarum, L. brevis, Leuconostoc
mesentereoides, Pediococcus pentosaceus and Enterococcus faecalis.When both salt
concentration and temperature are low, Leuconostoc mesenteroides dominates, producing a mix
of acids, alcohol, and aroma compounds. At higher temperatures Lactobacillus plantarum
dominates, which produces primarily lactic acid. Many pickles start with Leuconostoc, and
change to Lactobacillus with higher acidity (Harold, 2004).
WHY ARE LACTIC ACID BACTERIA IMPORTANT?
As lactic acid bacteria grow in pickle, they digest sugars and produce lactic acid. Not only does
this acid give the pickles their characteristic sour tang, it controls the spread of spoilage
microbes. Also, by gobbling up the sugars, lactic acid bacteria remove a potential food source for
bad bacteria. Thus LAB is called probiotic strains. Because they are able to produce
antimicrobial substances, sugar polymers, sweeteners, aromatic compounds, useful enzymes, or
nutraceuticals and with their health promoting properties. LAB produces several antimicrobials,
including organic acids (lactic, acetic, formic, phenyl lactic, caproic acids) carbondioxide,
hydrogen peroxide, diacetyl, ethanol, bacteriocins, reuterinand reutericyclin and they can prevent
mould spoilage. So probiotic LAB can be used in vegetable fermentation technology and in
pickle industry as an alternative to the chemical preservatives. Application of probiotic LAB to
pickle industry represents a way of replacing chemical additives by natural compounds, at the
same time providing the consumer with new, attractive and healthy food products (Irkin and
Emmun, 2012)
Lactobacilli are used as starters or complementary cultures for several varieties of foods. They
cause rapid pH decrease in the raw material through the production of lactic acid as the main
catabolic product and aroma compounds and bacteriocins. Lactic acid production during
fermentation process is commonly safe. Lactic acid fermentations include those in which the
fermentable sugars are converted to lactic acid by L. mesenteroides, L. brevis, L. plantarum, L.
bulgaricus and L. acidophilus. Sauerkraut is a good example for the classic lactic acid/vegetable
fermentation. Lactic acid bacteria develop in a sequence. In sauerkraut fermentation first, Lc.
mesenteroides grow producing lactic acid, acetic acid and CO2, which flushes out any residual
oxygen making the fermentation anaerobic. Then L. brevis grow producing more acid. Finally, L.
plantarum grow producing still more lactic acid and lowering the pH to below 4.0. At this pH
and under anaerobic conditions, the cabbage or other vegetables will be preserved for long
periods of time (Dirar, 1993).
2. REASONS FOR MOLD GROWTH ON PICKLES:

Keeping pickles below the brine level – If vegetables aren’t submerged in their
anaerobic environment and are in an aerobic oxygen environment then mold grows.

Starting with rotten vegetables – vegetables that are starting to go bad have a higher
mold content than fresh vegetables which gives the mold a starting advantage on the
other bacteria and yeasts which are competing in the same space

Warmer temperatures – the room temperature warms up past the cooler temperatures
desired by vegetable ferments warmer than 65-70 degrees

Salt – not having enough salt can contribute to mold growth.

Chemicals or pesticides – using water that has chlorine or vegetables that have
pesticides could possibly interfere with the fermentation process

HOW TO OVERCOME MOLD GROWTH DURING PICKLING.
The best way to deal with mold is probably not to encourage it in the first place and we can do
that by making it less hospitable for mold to grow.
Some factors on this include:

Creating an anaerobic environment – keep the oxygen out of the container for example
using a mason jar with an air lock.

Using fresher vegetables – fresher vegetables have low mold content compared to rotten
vegetables which have a higher mold content

Ferment pickles in slightly colder temperatures – by creating a temperature controlled
container like a cooler with cold water.

Using more salt – A concentrated salt solution will show reduced mold growth.

Vegetables should be submerged in brine

3. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF SALT IN PICKLING?

When put vegetables in salty brine, the water inside the vegetables flows out into the brine,
making the pickles crunchier. This passage of water, known as osmosis, occurs because of the
tendency of substances to move through a membrane from an area of high concentration to an
area of low concentration. In this case, the salty brine solution has a lower water concentration
than the water inside fresh vegetables, so water will flow out of the vegetables. The fermentation
of vegetables is due primarily to the activity of naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria
(LAB). However, yeasts and other microorganisms may also be involved in the process,
depending on the salt concentration and other environmental factors.

THE ROLE OF SALT
Salt may be added in vegetable fermentations in the dry form, or as a brine solution in
variable concentrations depending on the type of vegetable to be processed and the desired final
product. Salt, primarily NaCl, serves four major roles in the preservation of fermented
vegetables: (a) it influences the type and extent of microbial activity; (b) it helps prevent
softening of the vegetable tissue; (c) it determines the flavor of the final product; and (d) it
assists in rupturing the fruit membranes, allowing the diffusion of various components into the
cover brine solutions used by microbes for growth and metabolic activities. Some vegetables are
brined at such high salt concentrations as to greatly retard or preclude fermentation. Also adding
salt to your pickling brine is one important way to help lactic acid bacteria win the microbial
race. At a certain salt concentration, lactic acid bacteria grow more quickly than other microbes,
and have a competitive advantage. Below this "right" concentration, bad bacteria may survive
and spread more easily, possibly out-competing lactic acid bacteria and spoiling your pickles.
Too much salt is also a problem: Lactic acid bacteria cannot thrive, leaving vegetables unpicked.
What’s more, salt-tolerant yeasts can spread more quickly. By consuming lactic acid, yeasts
make the pickles less acidic and more hospitable to spoilage microbes (Dirar, 1993).

CONCLUSION

Traditionally manufactured pickles are source of healthy probiotic microbes, which occur by
natural fermentation in brine, but pickles produced using vinegar are not probiotic. However the
report, citing limited data in a statistical meta-analysis, indicates a potential two-fold increased
risk of oesophageal cancer associated with Asian pickled vegetable consumption. Some common
fungi can facilitate the formation of N-nitroso compounds, which are strong oesophageal
carcinogens in several animal models. Roussin red methyl ester, a non-alkylating nitroso
compound with tumour-promoting effect in vitro, was identified in pickles from Linxian in much
higher concentrations than in samples from low-incidence areas. Fumonisin mycotoxins have
been shown to cause liver and kidney tumours in rodents. Hence consumption of pickles should
be taken with great care.

REFERENCES

Chou, L. "Chinese and Other Asian Pickles". Flavor and Fortune (Fall 2003 Volume). Institute
for the Advancement of the Science and Art of Chinese Cuisine. Retrieved 24 February 2016 at
8:15 pm.
McGee, Harold (2004). On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. New York:
Scribner, pp. 291–296. ISBN 0-684-80001-2.
Irkin,R and Emmun,G (2012). Applications of probiotic bacteria to the vegetable Pickle
products. Balıkesir University, Art and Science Faculty, Biology Dept., TR10100, BALIKESIR,
Turkey.
Islami, F (2009). "Pickled vegetables and the risk of oesophageal cancer: a meta-analysis".
British Journal of Cancer 101: 1641–1647.
Dirar, H., (1993), The Indigenous Fermented Foods of the Sudan: A Study in African Food and
Nutrition, CAB International, UK