Organic Acids and Food Preservation: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Organic Acids and Food Preservation

1st Edition

By Maria M. Theron, J. F. Rykers Lues

CRC Press

340 pages | 28 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781420078428
pub: 2010-09-16
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pub: 2010-09-16
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Although organic acids have been used to counteract pathogens in food for many years, there is a glaring need to assess and improve their continued effectiveness and sustainability. There is also a growing demand for foods that are produced using milder treatments (e.g., less heat, salt, sugar, and chemicals) and newer technologies to prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria.

Organic Acids and Food Preservation concentrates on safe and effective techniques for applying organic acids to prevention of bacterial growth. Despite the wide range of potentially useful antimicrobials, relatively few are suitable in practice—and this invaluable hands-on guide explains why. With its wealth of information and rare focus solely on the subject, it provides practical tools that can be used in the food industry, various academic disciplines, research, education, and food technology fields to better understand the problem and develop optimal solutions.

  • Why are preservative strategies ineffective?
  • Why are microorganisms becoming acid tolerant and resistant in other ways?

To answer these and other key questions, the authors combine research findings from industries and laboratories around the globe, specific application regimen, future prospects, and other information that is vital to the successful use of organic acids as food preservatives. After outlining challenges that the food industry faces from modern consumer trends, food legislation, and other obstacles, this book then explores possible solutions that are applicable not only to food science but to microbiology, food science, food technology, biochemistry, and biotechnology. It will become a valuable addition to the library of any scientist or researcher working in these and other fields.

Table of Contents


The evolution of preservation with organic acids: from stone age to space age

Unrivaled advantages

Economic implications: "safer food, better business"

Legislative issues in food production

Problems in an "organic world"

New and emerging pathogens

Nature and composition of organic acids

General characterization

Structural description

An overview of individual organic acids and their applications

General applications

Food products naturally containing organic acids

Application of organic acids in food preservation


Industrial applications

Salts of organic acids

Organic acid combinations

Considerations in the selection of organic acids

Organic acids in antimicrobial packaging

Organic acids in animal feed preservation


A review of current methodologies

Recommended applications

Control of common pathogens

Organic acids as additives in chilled foods


Microbial organic acid producers

Predominant antimicrobial substances produced by LAB

Principles of lactic acid fermentation

Other applications of LAB

Genetic and bioinformatic characterization of LAB

Acetic acid bacteria (AAB)

Susceptibility of and resistance to organic acids

Other organisms

Mechanisms of microbial inhibition

Activity of organic acids

Physiological actions of organic acids

Factors that influence organic acid activity

The role of pH

Antibacterial action

Antifungal action

Antiviral action

Acidified foods

Comparing effectiveness of organic acids with inorganic acids

Spectra of inhibition

Improving effectiveness

(Physical) factors that will enhance effectiveness

Comparisons among organic acids

Problems associated with organic acid preservation

Adverse effects on humans and animals

Adverse effects on foodstuffs

Protective effects on microorganisms

Sensorial effects and consumer perception

Recommended daily intake

Odors and palatability


Application methods



Influence on tolerance to other stresses

Large-scale organic acid production

Naturally occurring weak organic acids

Microbial physiology and organic acids

Substrates and yields

Industrial fermentation

Organic acid demand

Lactic acid production

Citric acid production

Resistance to organic acids

Intrinsic (natural) resistance

Development of resistance

Inducible resistance

Mechanisms of resistance

Transmission of resistance

Extent of the situation

E. coli O157:H7

Protective effects of organic acids

Possible advantages of organic acid resistance

Industry strategies

Acid tolerance

Delineating the difference among acid adaptation, acid tolerance, and acid resistance

Role of organic acids in tolerance

Acid tolerance of gastrointestinal pathogens

Cross-resistance to secondary stresses

Mechanisms of acid tolerance development

Known acid-tolerant organisms

Development of acid tolerance

Implications of acid tolerance

Contribution of acidic foodstuffs

Analytical procedures

Interacting mechanisms

Control strategies

Modeling organic acid activity


Growth models in defined systems

Different predictive models

Predictive indices for organic acids

Toward improving on existing models

Significance of modeling

Legislative aspects

Differences in regulatory authorities

Application guidelines for organic acid preservation

The role of general food safety regulations

Codex Alimentarius Commission

Proposed amendments

Role of government and parastatals

Feed preservation

Commercial trials

Incidental and natural organic acid occurence







Acid foods


Edible films



LAB and biopreservation

Other organisms implicated in biopreservation

New technologies and applications

Consumer acceptance

Organic acids and probiotics

Novel applications for organic acids

Emerging challenges

Consumer satisfaction

Optimizing organic acid application in animal feed

Preservative combinations

Antimicrobial packaging

Optimizing commercial trials

New possibilities in minimally processed foods

Alternatives to washing techniques

Alternative application regimes

Recognizing the need in RTE foods

Detection of organic acids

Traditional detection methods

Contemporary methods

The importance of effective detection

Detection in specific foodstuffs

Characteristics of detected organic acids

Comparing sample preparation techniques


About the Authors

Maria Theron is a full-time researcher in the Unit for Applied Food Science and Biotechnology (UAFSB) at the Central University of Technology (CUT), Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She holds a Ph.D in Medical Microbiology from the University of the Free State (UFS). She is currently steering a project on "Organic Acids as Antimicrobials in Food Preservation" within the research niche area of the UAFSB.

Ryk Lues is currently full professor and head of the Programme Environmental Health at the Central University of Technology (CUT), Free State, South Africa. He also heads the Unit for Applied Food Safety and Biotechnology at the CUT. Lues holds an MSc (Microbiology) and a Ph.D (Food Science) from the University of the Free State and his field of specialization comprises organic acid biotechnology and social–behavioral aspects affecting food microbiology and hygiene.

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