Whilst continuing on the theme of extracting value from food waste, an article that tackles the potential of mushroom waste from the food industry has been published. The stipes which is the base or stem of the mushroom is often discarded and usually comprises 25% to 33% of the weight of a mushroom. These stems are often used in animal feed or just composted, however there is enough carbohydrate present to provide a unique fermentation medium for Lactobacilli which makes it a potential prebiotic ingredient.
Researchers from food institutes in Taiwan reported success in growing probiotic bacteria using waste from different mushroom species. The polysaccharides found in the mushroom waste supported survival of various bacteria during cold storage. It appears the polysaccharides acted synergistically with the protein componentry from a yoghurt culture to maintain the bacterial population above 107 CFU/ml. They also tested the protective effects of the probiotic bacteria in model gastric and bile juices with the conclusion that they might also protect the probiotics in the harsher environment of the intestine. Any ingredient which helps in prolonging the shelf-life of probiotic products is valuable as the losses of probiotic organisms is significant especially in non-chill storage.
Chou, W.T., Sheih, I-C., Fang, T.J. (2013) The Applications of Polysaccharides From Various Mushroom Wastes as Prebiotics in Different Systems. J. Food Sci. 78 (7) pp. M1041- M1048