Vacuum cooler technology delivers better shelf life and returns for mushroom growers

Vacuum cooler technology delivers better shelf life and returns for mushroom growers

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Sponsored content: Having the correct cooling processes in place is important in the handling of any fresh produce but for mushrooms in particular it's even more critical.

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This is sponsored content for Koldtek.

Having the correct cooling processes in place is important in the handling of any fresh produce but for mushrooms it can be even more critical.

While consumer demand for nutritious and delicious mushrooms continues to grow, the popular fungi present particular challenges for growers because of their shorter shelf life compared to other produce.

Once harvested, mushrooms are highly susceptible to bacteria growth. They can dehydrate and deteriorate rapidly unless quickly cooled and maintained at the correct storage temperature.

Grant Blacker, an agricultural engineer and expert in the design of refrigeration equipment, said the latest cooling technology allows growers to more efficiently cool mushrooms.

Mr Blacker is the founder of Koldtek - the Brisbane-based company that has become a world leading specialist in the design and manufacture of vacuum and hydro coolers for the fruit and vegetable industry.

"Harvested mushrooms have a high respiration rate," he said. "This means they take in oxygen and, combined with sugars and protein from the mushrooms, produce carbon dioxide and energy in the form of heat."

"Mushrooms at 20 degrees produce 600 per cent more heat energy compared to mushrooms at 2 degrees. This is why it's critical to get them cooled quickly and correctly.

"The Koldtek vacuum coolers can cool mushrooms from 18 degrees to 2 degrees in 10 to 15 minutes."

Koldtek vacuum coolers are a convenient and powerful tool to cool mushrooms efficiently and quickly.

Koldtek vacuum coolers are a convenient and powerful tool to cool mushrooms efficiently and quickly.

Koldtek vacuum coolers are a convenient and powerful tool to cool mushrooms efficiently and quickly.

Mr Blacker has worked with some of Australia's most successful mushroom growers to update and redesign their cooling processes, helping to boost the efficiency and productivity of their businesses.

"Successful mushroom growers are all similar in the following ways. They supply quality mushrooms, incorporate new technologies, and use best practices to ensure viable profitable businesses," he said.

"Thirty or forty-year-old cooling systems don't cut it anymore. Many of the mushroom farms we've worked with have previously used 'forced air cooling' systems that are either undersized or poorly designed."

A vacuum cooler works by vaporising water on the surface and just under the surface of the produce. This process of converting water to vapour takes heat energy from the product and so cools it down.

The produce loses a minimal amount of moisture during the process, about one per cent for every 6 degrees drop in temperature. This moisture loss is uniform throughout the entire product and so isn't noticeable.

Mr Blacker said incorporating the convenience of a vacuum cooler in the cooling process means businesses can still use their existing cold rooms for short term storage once the produce is cooled.

"The Koldtek vacuum cooler takes all the load off their cold rooms because the vacuum cooler does all the work, even on 40 degree plus days," he said.

As part of the service, Koldtek can supply rental vacuum coolers so growers can experience the benefits to their business without the capital outlay. The coolers range in size from one to eight pallet capacity.

As well as mushrooms, the Koldtek system is also suitable for many other vegetable varieties. Stay tuned for more stories about the success other growers are having with the technology.

Designed by engineers for Australian conditions, Koldtek vacuum coolers are manufactured to the highest standards and backed by the company's reputation for reliability, longevity and efficiency that is the result of engineering development spanning 30 years.Find out more about the range and the benefits this cooling technology can deliver to your business at koldtek.com.au or by phoning 07 5549 0234 or 0412 327 304.

This is sponsored content for Koldtek.

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