Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) relies on the interplay between the product respiration and the package film permeability with the aim of maintaining initial quality and extending shelf-life of fresh produce. The aim of this work was to evaluate the effect of temperature and number of perforations on quality and the shelf life of sliced button mushrooms. Sliced mushrooms were packed in a tray, covered with biobased film, and stored at 4 levels of temperature (0, 5, 10 and 15 ºC) and 3 levels of perforations for each temperature (ranged from 1 to 6) for 7 days. Headspace gas composition and quality parameters of sliced mushrooms (weight loss, pH, firmness and colour) were measured throughout the storage period. Increasing the storage temperature resulted in the need to increase the number of perforations in order to obtain the optimum MAP conditions. Temperature had a significant effect (p < 0.05) on weight loss and firmness of sliced mushrooms. Firmness was identified as a critical quality parameter therefore a model was developed to describe the influence of temperature and time on shelf life of sliced mushrooms. The shelf life of sliced mushrooms packed in an optimum package with 1 perforation was 7.5 and 4 days when stored at 0 and 5 °C, respectively.
Keywords: Mushrooms, MAP, fresh produce, optimal gas composition, shelf life.