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Oxygen sensors can keep mushrooms healthy for longer

Oxygen sensors have a role in keeping mushrooms in good condition during storage – and it may be more complicated than it initially appears.

An article in the journal Food Packaging and Shelf Life explains that mushrooms respire, taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide – and if not enough oxygen is available, the mushroom cannot respire and so deteriorates faster.

But in contrast, generally low oxygen levels – below 5% – and high CO2 levels up to around 12% are beneficial to the longevity of mushrooms in other ways.

As such, there is a trade-off to be found between the gas levels, and particularly the level of oxygen within the mushrooms’ packaging.

Keeping Mushrooms fresher for longer

The team of researchers from University College Cork and the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering in Potsdam, Germany, found that the lower permeability of oxygen compared to carbon dioxide meant oxygen levels inside the packaging reached their equilibrium point faster than the CO2 levels.

Oxygen sensors were used to detect this level, and the team also developed further methods of analysis – ranging from testing the colour of the mushroom to a subjective assessment of its sliminess – as means of deciding how well its packaging allowed it to survive the typical retail process.