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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Food Science

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



This research investigated the use of mushrooms in beef-based products as a means to reduce overall sodium and fat for food service applications. Initial product development used physical characterization analysis (color, moisture, texture, yield, fat, and sodium) to determine initial threshold of mushroom inclusion with minimal differences against an all-meat control. Additional physical analysis then investigated a variety of other factors (mushroom type, blanching, mushroom particle size, salt level, and meat/fat blend) to determine if there were other attributing ingredient characteristics that would yield statistical similarity to the all-meat control. Taco filling formulations with optimized ingredients were then fielded in a hedonic sensory study to untrained consumers to evaluate attributes product (overall liking, aroma, color, flavor, juiciness, saltiness, and texture). Samples with liking scores that closely matched the control where then fielded in paired preference tests to determine acceptance using patrons from the UMass Dining Commons. Based on physical property assessments, an optimized taco filling formulation containing up to 45% un-blanched, white button mushrooms finely chopped (1 to 5 mm) maximized mushroom usage while minimizing differences from the all-meat control. Furthermore, consumers preferred a reduced sodium taco filling containing 45% mushroom over a full sodium taco filling also containing 45% mushroom in a food service fielded paired preference sensory test.

The second part of this research investigated the use of mushrooms in burger patties in direct comparison to textured soy protein, which is a well established and used meat extender in the industry, specifically in reduced sodium applications. Again, initial product development used physical characterization analysis to determine initial thresholds of meat extender inclusion with minimal differences against an all-meat control. Optimized patty formulations were then fielded in two hedonic sensory studies to identify favorable meat extenders and concentrations of supplementation in full and reduced sodium patties. Results from the hedonic study showed that reduced sodium meat products extended with mushroom can be equally liked to all-meat full sodium counterparts. The findings from this research showed how mushroom has the potential to be successfully incorporated into meat products to lower sodium and fat without compromising consumer expectation and altering acceptance.


First Advisor

Amanda J. Kinchla

Second Advisor

Wesley R Autio

Third Advisor

Maria G Corradini