Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Food Science and Technology

Major Professor

John R. Mount

Committee Members

P. Michael Davidson, David L. Coffey


The purpose of this study was to develop sauerkraut products using potassium chloride as a complete or partial sodium chloride replacement, to determine the microbiological and chemical safety of the products, and to determine the consumer acceptance of the sauerkraut. Sauerkraut was prepared with 3 different salts as treatments: sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and Morton Lite Sal®. The fermentations were allowed to proceed for 30 days while total microbial counts, lactic acid-producing bacterial counts, yeast and mold counts, and titratable acidities were being monitored. Total and lactic microbial counts for the potassium chloride and Lite Salt treatments were found to be higher than counts for the sodium chloride treatments. This was due to the lower ionic strength of the potassium chloride in the brine, allowing for greater microbial growth and therefore, greater lactic acid production as was evidenced by the higher titratable acidities of these treatments. Sauerkraut juice components were analyzed with an HPLC instrument and no differences were found in the types and quantities of components present in the 3 treatments. Total amounts of sodium and potassium in the finished sauerkraut products were determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometric analyses. Sodium reduction in the kraut prepared with potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride is about 98%. Kraut prepared with Lite Salt shows a reduction in sodium of 40-45% over that prepared with sodium chloride. Sensory evaluation using an untrained consumer-type panel showed kraut prepared with Lite Salt compared favorably to kraut prepared with sodium chloride. No bitter aftertaste of the Lite Salt was noted due to the masking of this flavor by the lactic acid. Sauerkraut prepared with potassium chloride was rated lower than the other two treatments due to its bitter, metallic aftertaste. This study shows that potassium chloride can be used as at least a partial replacement for sodium chloride in the fermentation of sauerkraut. Use of Lite Salt provides a microbiologically and chemically safe product that is not only palatable but compares favorably to kraut prepared with sodium chloride, yet provides a substantial amount of sodium reduction over common sauerkraut.

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