Postharvest microbiological studies on Manitoba wild rice

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Logan, John Frederick George
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The characteristics and effects of the microbial population on postharvest wild rice are not fully understood at the present time. The present study is an attempt to investigate this problem. Studies were conducted to determine (a) the taxonomy of bacteria and molds on wild rice, (b) what happens to microorganisms during curing, parching, hulling and cooking of wild rice, (c) the possible health hazards associated with wild rice processing, and (d) the efficiency of microbial reduction on wild rice. From this research, an attempt was made to deduce the role of microorganisms in the processing of wild rice, especially the curing step. For the bacterial taxonomy study, the Pseudomonas spp. were the most dominant bacterial genus among all other identified bacteria while for the mold taxonomy study seven different types of molds took their turns at being dominant. The microbial analyses of wild rice indicated that microorganisms have no role to play in curing while parching, hulling and cooking were effective ways to reduce the microbial load on wild rice grains. The only possible health hazard problem associated with wild rice is due to potential mycotoxin production by molds such as Fusarium spp. The microbial reduction tests were successful but did not succeed in producing a completely sterilized wild rice.