Define food spoilage, Chemistry

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Q. Define Food spoilage?

Food spoilage is a major concern of all people. Spoilage by growth of bacteria, yeasts and moulds limits the time that the food can be stored and still be safe and palatable. The environmental conditions optimal for reproduction vary with the type of these microorganisms. Foods can be preserved by altering these so that they no longer serve as a suitable host for microorganisms.

Foods also spoil when they undergo physical and chemical changes which may be due to the action of enzymatic and non-enzymatic reactions such as oxidation, mechanical damage etc. Therefore, the major causes of food spoilage and deterioration can be summarized as:

• Biological

- growth of bacteria, yeast, mould
- activity of enzymes
- insects, rodents and parasites

• Chemical

- reaction with oxygen
- chemical reactions within food constituents
- light

• Physical

- temperature
- physical stress or abuse

Microbial spoilage readily occurs in foods having sufficient moisture and a favourable temperature and other conditions of growth like pH, oxidation-reduction potential. Thus, to hinder the growth of the microorganisms these conditions must be taken care of and you would realize, this is the basis of food preservation.


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