Archive for October 20th, 2012

October 20, 2012

Food Microbiology

microbiome by Michael DeForge

Food microbiology is the study of the microorganisms that inhabit, create, or contaminate food. Including the study of microorganisms causing food spoilage. ‘Good’ bacteria, however, such as probiotics, are becoming increasingly important in food science. In addition, microorganisms are essential for the production of foods such as cheese, yogurt, other fermented foods, bread, beer and wine.¬†Food safety is a major focus of food microbiology. Pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and toxins produced by microorganisms are all possible contaminants of food.

However, microorganisms and their products can also be used to combat these pathogenic microbes. Probiotic bacteria, including those that produce bacteriocins (toxins created by bacteria to kill rival bacteria), can 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 heat-labile, and some are not eliminated by cooking

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