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Food microbiology

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Title: Food microbiology  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Food engineering, Food science, Food chemistry, Molecular microbiology, Chemical engineering
Collection: Food Safety, Microbiology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Food microbiology

Food safety
Foodborne illness
Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP)
Critical control point
Critical factors
Water activity (aw)
Bacterial pathogens
Clostridium botulinum
Escherichia coli
Vibrio cholerae
Viral pathogens
Hepatitis A
Parasitic pathogens
Entamoeba histolytica

Food microbiology is the study of the cheese, yogurt, bread, beer, wine and, other fermented foods.


  • Food safety 1
  • Fermentation 2
  • Microbial biopolymers 3
    • Alginate 3.1
    • Poly-γ-glutamic acid 3.2
  • Food authenticity 4
  • Food testing 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes and references 7
  • External links 8

Food safety

Probiotic bacteria, including those that produce bacteriocins, can kill and inhibit pathogens. Alternatively, purified bacteriocins such as nisin can be added directly to food products. Finally, bacteriophages, viruses that only infect bacteria, can be used to kill bacterial pathogens. Thorough preparation of food, including proper cooking, eliminates most bacteria and viruses. However, toxins produced by contaminants may not be liable to change to non-toxic forms by heating or cooking the contaminated food.


shelf-life. Some cheese varieties also require molds to ripen and develop their characteristic flavors.

Microbial biopolymers

Several microbially produced polymers are used in the food industry.[5]


Alginates can be used as thickening agents.[6] Although listed here under the category 'Microbial polysaccharides', commercial alginates are currently only produced by extraction from brown seaweeds such as Laminaria hyperborea or L. japonica.

Poly-γ-glutamic acid

Poly-γ-glutamic acid (γ-PGA) produced by various strains of Bacillus has potential applications as a thickener in the food industry.[7]

Food authenticity

It is important to be able to detect microorganisms in food, in particular pathogenic microorganisms or genetically modified microorganisms.

Food testing

A microbiologist working in a biosafety laboratory tests for high risk pathogens in food.

To ensure food poisoning outbreaks can be prevented. Testing of food products and ingredients is important along the whole supply chain as possible flaws of products can occur at every stage of production.[8] Apart from detecting spoilage, microbiological tests can also determine germ content, identify yeasts and molds, and salmonella. For salmonella, scientists are also developing rapid and portable technologies capable of identifying unique variants of Salmonella .[9]

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is a quick and inexpensive method to generate numbers of copies of a DNA fragment at a specific band ("PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction)," 2008). For that reason, scientists are using PCR to detect different kinds of viruses or bacteria, such as HIV and anthrax based on their unique DNA patterns. Various kits are commercially available to help in food pathogen nucleic acids extraction,[10] PCR detection, and differentiation.[11] The detection of bacterial strands in food products is very important to everyone in the world, for it helps prevent the occurrence of food borne illness. Therefore, PCR is recognized as a DNA detector in order to amplify and trace the presence of pathogenic strands in different processed food.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Fratamico PM and Bayles DO (editor). (2005). Foodborne Pathogens: Microbiology and Molecular Biology. Caister Academic Press.  
  2. ^ Tannock GW (editor). (2005). Probiotics and Prebiotics: Scientific Aspects. Caister Academic Press.  
  3. ^ Ljungh A, Wadstrom T (editors) (2009). Lactobacillus Molecular Biology: From Genomics to Probiotics. Caister Academic Press.  
  4. ^ Mayo, B; van Sinderen, D (editor) (2010). Bifidobacteria: Genomics and Molecular Aspects.  
  5. ^ Rehm BHA (editor). (2009). Microbial Production of Biopolymers and Polymer Precursors: Applications and Perspectives. Caister Academic Press.  
  6. ^ Remminghorst and Rehm (2009). "Microbial Production of Alginate: Biosynthesis and Applications". Microbial Production of Biopolymers and Polymer Precursors. Caister Academic Press.  
  7. ^ Shih and Wu (2009). "Biosynthesis and Application of Poly(gamma-glutamic acid)". Microbial Production of Biopolymers and Polymer Precursors. Caister Academic Press.  
  8. ^ Food Testing Laboratories
  9. ^ Rapid Testing and Identification of Salmonella in Foods
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ [4]

External links

  • Institute of Food Technologists Food Microbiology Division
  • The Penn State University,Food Microbiology,USA
  • Descriptions of the common food pathogens
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