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Hurdle technology is the combined use of several shelfpreservation methods to make a product shelf-stable, to improve quality and to provide additional safety. Also known as “combined method technology”. Leistner in 1976, introduced the term “hurdle effect”.

Consumers are demanding for fresh, natural and minimally processed food products. Ongoing trend has been eat out and to consume ready to eat foods. New ecology routes for microbial growth have emerged. emerged.

Preservative factors or hurdles disturb the homeostasis of microorganisms. Microorganisms should not be able to “jump over” all the hurdles present in the food product. Preservative factors prevents microorganisms from multiplying and causing them to remain inactive or even die. The hurdle concept illustrates that complex interactions of temperature, water activity, pH etc are significant to the microbial stability.

High Temperature

i. Pasteurization
mild heat treatment (e.g., 63oC for 30 min; 100oC for 12 sec) high product quality destroys vegetative pathogens (disease-causing microbes) (diseaseshelfreduces total microbial load, increases shelf-life does not destroy spores (dormant stage of some bacteria) usually combined with other hurdles (e.g., refrigeration)

ii. Sterilization
complete destruction of microorganisms severe heat treatment (equivalent to several min at 121.1oC) destroys spores "shelfgives "shelf-stable" product some nutrient, quality destruction (colour, flavour, texture)

iii. Blanching
blanching is a kind of pasteurization generally applied to fruits and vegetables primarily applied to inactivate natural enzymes commonly practiced when food is to be frozen depending on its severity, also destroys microorganisms

Vegetative cells, as well as, viruses are 60° 80° destroyed at temperature 60°C to 80°C Higher temperature may be needed for killing of thermophilic microorganisms Vegetative cells are killed in 10 minutes at 100° 100°C and many spores in 30 minutes at 100°C 100°

Low Temperature

i. Refrigeration
ideally 0oC to 4oC for most foods shortshort-term preservation (days to weeks) high product quality (fresh, minimally processed, sous vide) slows down microbial growth, respiration, enzyme/chemical reactions some pathogens can grow (e.g., C. botulinum (type E), Listeria)

ii. Freezing
generally -18oC to -30oC quality depends on product, time, temperature longlong-term preservation (months to years) stops microbial growth, respiration slows down chemical reactions must have good packaging

Reduced Water Activity (aw)
aw is water "availability" water is required for microbial growth, enzyme/chemical reactions pathogenic microorganisms cannot grow at aw < 0.86 yeast & moulds cannot grow at aw <0.62 free water can be removed by concentration, dehydration and freeze drying in general, the lower the aw, the longer the storage life

Glucose Fructose Sucrose Sodium chloride Potassium chloride

Increased Acidity (lowered pH) acidity slows down growth of spoilage organisms and pathogens
pathogens won't grow, spores won't germinate at pH<4.5 (e.g., fruit juices, sauerkraut) above pH 4.5, must sterilize for shelf stability below pH 4.5, can pasteurize

Organic acids citric acid malic acid tartaric acid benzoic acid lactic acid propionic acid Inorganic acids byFermentation by- products

Controlling Oxygen
low oxygen inhibits growth of many spoilage organisms

anaerobic conditions required by some pathogens (e.g., C. botulinum)

inhibit bacteria, yeasts, moulds used at low levels (mg/kg) for specific applications e.g., benzoate (soft drinks), propionate (baked goods), nitrites (meats), sulfites (wine), ascorbate (juices)

Sulphur dioxide and Sulphites Nitrites and Nitrates Sorbates Propionates Sodium benzoate

Competitive Microorganisms
"good" bacteria inhibit "bad" (spoilers, pathogens)

May act by: by:
"crowding out" producing acid producing antibiotics (bacteriocins) e.g., lactic acid bacteria (sauerkraut, yogurt)

Sequence of hurdles ensures stability at each stage. All hurdles decline with time except aw. Nitrite inhibits pathogens growth of other bacteria depletes oxygen acidLow oxygen favours acid-producing competitive flora Acid decreases pH Aw hurdle gradually increases due to drying.

These products have pH > 4.5 and aw > 0.85. Should have to comply with the low-acid lowcanned food regulations (i.e., commercial sterilization). However, for quality reasons, these products cannot be given a sterilization process. Instead, the spreads are stabilized by moderate levels of salt, decreased pH and moisture.

Improves product quality and microbial safety. Save Money, Energy & Several other Resources. Foods remains stable & safe, high in sensory & nutritive value due to gentle process applied. Doesn't effects the integrity of food pieces (fruits). Applicable in both Large & Small Industries. Manufacture of new products according to the need of processors and consumers.

BOOKSBOOKSA text book of food preservation - BY NEELAM KHETARPAL. Food microbiology - BY Food science – BY WEBSITESWEBSITES< /Culture_25.pdf> < d=6786