Summary: Food Microbiology

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  • Spoilage

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  • Influences on growth rate?

    • Intrinsic factors (physico-chemical properties of food) 
    • Extrinsic factors (properties of food environment) 
    • Implicit factors (properties and interactions of micro-organisms) 
    • Processing (changes/food/environment/micro-organisms) 
  • Improvement of food preservation?

    • By product formulation (increase or decrease nutrients) 
    • By processing (introduce or remove barriers) 
  • pH range of foods from low to high?

    Citrus fruit < Fruit < Vegetable < Meat < Milk < Fish < Egg white. 
  • Applications of pH in food preservation?

    • Fermentation 
    • Acidic preservative
  • Pitfalls of pH in food preservation?

    • Yeast and/or mould dissimilate acid
    • Acid-tolerant bacteria can grow (proteolytic)
    • Pathogenic bacteria can grow (especially in low acidic foods) 
  • Redox potential of aerobic organisms?

    • Most energy via oxidative phosphorylation with oxygen as terminal electron acceptor
    • Enzymes (superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase) disable toxic products of oxygen
  • Redox potential of anaerobic organisms?

    • No SOD or catalase
    • No growth at high redox potentials (in presence of oxygen) 
  • Effects on redox potential of foods?

    • Milling/grinding = higher access to oxygen = higher redox potential
    • Low pH = many H+ = higher redox potential 
    • Microbial growth = less oxygen = lower redox potential
  • Water activity of micro-organisms?

    • Xerophilic = grow on dry foods (aw = 0.60) 
    • Osmophilic = grow in high concentrations of unionized compounds (sugar) (aw = 0.62) 
    • Halotolerant = grow in salted products, tolerate elevated levels of sodium chloride
    • Halophilic (obligate) = requires high levels of sodium chloride to grow
  • Reduction of water activity?

    • Adding solutes (salt, sucrose) 
    • Removing water 
    • Combined application 

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