The Relationship of Microorganisms to Sanitation
Microorganisms cause food spoilage through degradation of appearance and flavor, and foodborne illness occurs through the ingestion of food containing microorganisms or toxins of public health concern. Control of microbial load from equipment, establishments, and foods is part of a sanitation program.
Microorganisms have a growth pattern similar to the shape of a bell curve and tend to proliferate and die at a logarithmic rate. Extrinsic factors that have the most effect on microbial growth kinetics are temperature, oxygen availability, and relative humidity. Intrinsic factors that affect growth rate most are water activity (Aw) and pH levels, oxidation-reduction potential, nutrient requirements, and presence of inhibitory substances. Chemical changes from microbial degradation occur primarily through enzymes, produced by microorganisms, which degrade proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and other complex molecules into simpler compounds.
The most common methods of microbial destruction are heat, chemicals, and irradiation, whereas the most common methods for inhibiting microbial growth are refrigeration, dehydration, and fermentation. Microbial load and taxonomy are measurements of the effectiveness of a sanitation program by various tests and diagnoses.
KeywordsBacteria Diagnostic tests Foodborne illness Microorganisms Molds Pathogens Viruses Yeasts
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