Food microbiology

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. Microorganisms are involved in food spoilage, food poisoning and also in food preservation, food production. Most common microorganism includes bacteria, moulds, yeast and viruses.

Some of the major sources of microorganisms in foods include plants, animals attacking intestinal tract and skin, air, sewage, soil, equipment, flies etc. Both intrinsic as well as extrinsic factors of food affect microbial growth. Intrinsic factors commonly include pH, moisture contents, oxidation-reduction potential, nutrient content, antimicrobial constituents and biological structures. Extrinsic factors commonly include temperature of storage, relative humidity of environment, concentration of gases and activity of other microorganisms. Some of the most common indicators of food safety are Escherichia coli, Enterococcus spp., and Staphylococcus aureus.

Food preservation is done in variety of methods such as chemicals, modified environment, radiations, high temperatures, high hydrostatic pressure and drying. Chemicals like benzoic acid, sorbic acid, nitrites and nitrates, NaCl are some of the most common used. Vacuum packaging is mostly used for modified atmospheres. Whereas ultraviolet radiation and gamma rays are also used for the protection of food from spoilage.

Journals related to Food Microbiology

Journal of Food Processing & Technology, Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences, Natural Products Chemistry & Research, Journal of Food and Nutritional Disorders, International Journal of Food Microbiology, Journal of Microbiology, Biotechnology and Food Sciences, Journal of Applied Microbiology, Current Opinion in Biotechnology.

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