FOOD PRESERVATION Food preservation is the process of treating and handling food to stop or slow down spoilage (loss of quality, edibility or nutritional value) and thus allow for longer storage. Preservation usually involves preventing the growth of bacteria, yeasts, fungi, and other micro-organisms (although some methods work by introducing benign bacteria, or fungi to the food), as well as retarding the oxidation of fats which cause rancidity. Food preservation can also include processes which inhibit visual deterioration that can occur during food preparation; such as the enzymatic browning reaction in apples after they are cut. Many processes designed to preserve food will involve a number of food preservation methods. Preserving fruit, by turning it into jam, for example, involves boiling (to reduce the fruit’s moisture content and to kill bacteria, yeasts, etc.), sugar ing (to prevent their re-growth) and sealing within an airtight jar (to prevent recontamination). There are many traditional methods of preserving food that limit the energy inputs and reduce carbon footprint. Maintaining or creating nutritional value, texture and flavor is an important aspect of food preservation, although, historically, some methods drastically altered the character of the food being preserved. In many cases these changes have now come to be seen as desirable qualities – cheese, yoghurt and pickled onions being common examples. Preservation processes Preservation processes include: • Heating to kill or denature micro-organisms (e.g., boiling) • Oxidation (e.g., use of sulfur dioxide) • Ozonation (e.g., use of ozone [O3] or ozonated water to kill undesired microbes) • Toxic inhibition (e.g., smoking, use of carbon dioxide, vinegar, alcohol etc.) • Dehydration (drying) • Osmotic inhibition (e.g., use of syrups) • Low temperature inactivation (e.g., freezing) • Ultra high water pressure (e.g. a type of “cold” pasteurization; intense water pressure kills mi crobes which cause food deterioration and affect food safety) • Combinations of these methods Drying Drying is one of the most ancient food preservation techniques, which reduces water activity sufficiently to prevent or delay bacterial growth. Refrigeration Refrigeration preserves food by slowing down the growth and reproduction of micro-organisms and the action of enzymes which cause food to rot. The introduction of commercial and domestic refrigerators drastically improved the diets of many in the Western world by allowing foods such as fresh fruit, salads and dairy products to be stored safely for longer periods, particularly during warm weather. Freezing Freezing is also one of the most commonly used processes commercially and domestically for preserving a very wide range of food including prepared food stuffs which would not have required freezing in their unprepared state. For example, potato waffles are stored in the freezer, but potatoes themselves require only a cool dark place to ensure many months' storage. Cold stores provide large volume, long-term storage for strategic food stocks held in case of national emergency in many countries. Vacuum packing Vacuum-packing stores food in a vacuum environment, usually in an air-tight bag or bottle. The vacuum environment strips bacteria of oxygen needed for survival, slowing spoiling. Vacuum-packing is commonly used for storing nuts to reduce loss of flavor from oxidation. Biopreservation Biopreservation is the use of natural or controlled microbiota or antimicrobials as a way of preserving food and extending its shelf life. Beneficial bacteria or the fermentation products produced by these bacteria are used in biopreservation to control

It is a benign ecological approach which is gaining increasing attention. and can inhibiting the activities of a wide spectrum of organisms. Of special interest are lactic acid bacteria (LAB). hydrogen peroxide. . their metabolites often include active antimicrobials such as lactic and acetic acid. Lactic acid bacteria have antagonistic properties which make them particularly useful as biopreservatives. These days LAB bacteriocins are used as an integral part of hurdle technology. Using them in combination with other preservative techniques can effectively control spoilage bacteria and other pathogens. When LABs compete for nutrients. Some LABs produce the antimicrobial nisin which is a particularly effective preservative.spoilage and render pathogens inactive in food. including inherently resistant Gram-negative bacteria. and peptide bacteriocins.