Microbial Inactivation Models for Thermal Processes

  • Simen Akkermans
  • Cindy Smet
  • Vasilis Valdramidis
  • Jan Van ImpeEmail author
Part of the Food Engineering Series book series (FSES)


In many food products, the population of microorganisms present after initial manufacturing stages is too high. As such, an intervention treatment is required to reduce the microbial load of these products. Thermal treatments are still by far the most common methods for microbial inactivation. The appropriate use of these technologies is aided by using mathematical models that describe the effect of temperature and other conditions on microbial responses. These kinetic models are subcategorised as primary models that describe the evolution of the population with time and secondary models that describe the effect of the environmental conditions on the parameters of the primary models. This chapter offers a comprehensive discussion of primary and secondary models for thermal microbial inactivation.


Thermal inactivation Primary model Secondary model D-value z-value 



This work was supported by projects C24/18/046 and PFV/10/002 (Center of Excellence OPTEC-Optimization in Engineering) and grant PDM/18/136 of the KU Leuven Research Fund and by the Fund for Scientific Research-Flanders, project G.0863.18. This work was also partly supported by the CA15118 Mathematical and Computer Science Methods for Food Science and Industry (FoodMC).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simen Akkermans
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Cindy Smet
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Vasilis Valdramidis
    • 4
    • 5
  • Jan Van Impe
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.BioTeC, Chemical and Biochemical Process Technology and Control, Department of Chemical Engineering, KU LeuvenGhentBelgium
  2. 2.OPTEC, Optimization in Engineering Center-of-Excellence, KU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.CPMF2, Flemish Cluster Predictive Microbiology in Foods – www.cpmf2.beGhentBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of MaltaMsidaMalta
  5. 5.Department of Molecular Medicine and BiobankingUniversity of MaltaMsidaMalta

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