The construction of an experimental system that can mimic koji making in the manufacturing setting of a sake brewery is initially required for the quantitative evaluation of mycelia grown on/in koji pellets (haze formation). Koji making with rice was investigated with a solid-state fermentation (SSF) system using a non-airflow box (NAB), which produced uniform conditions in the culture substrate with high reproducibility and allowed for the control of favorable conditions in the substrate during culture. The SSF system using NAB accurately reproduced koji making in a manufacturing setting. To evaluate haze formation during koji making, surfaces and cross sections of koji pellets obtained from koji making tests were observed using a digital microscope. Image analysis was used to distinguish between haze and non-haze sections of koji pellets, enabling the evaluation of haze formation in a batch by measuring the haze rate of a specific number of koji pellets. This method allowed us to obtain continuous and quantitative data on the time course of haze formation. Moreover, drying koji during the late stage of koji making was revealed to cause further penetration of mycelia into koji pellets (internal haze). The koji making test with the SSF system using NAB and quantitative evaluation of haze formation in a batch by image analysis is a useful method for understanding the relations between haze formation and koji making conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas