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Int J Mol Sci. 2009 Jul 8;10(7):3076-105. doi: 10.3390/ijms10073076.

Bacterial stressors in minimally processed food.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, University of Foggia, Italy. vittorio.capozzi@gmail.com

Abstract

Stress responses are of particular importance to microorganisms, because their habitats are subjected to continual changes in temperature, osmotic pressure, and nutrients availability. Stressors (and stress factors), may be of chemical, physical, or biological nature. While stress to microorganisms is frequently caused by the surrounding environment, the growth of microbial cells on its own may also result in induction of some kinds of stress such as starvation and acidity. During production of fresh-cut produce, cumulative mild processing steps are employed, to control the growth of microorganisms. Pathogens on plant surfaces are already stressed and stress may be increased during the multiple mild processing steps, potentially leading to very hardy bacteria geared towards enhanced survival. Cross-protection can occur because the overlapping stress responses enable bacteria exposed to one stress to become resistant to another stress. A number of stresses have been shown to induce cross protection, including heat, cold, acid and osmotic stress. Among other factors, adaptation to heat stress appears to provide bacterial cells with more pronounced cross protection against several other stresses. Understanding how pathogens sense and respond to mild stresses is essential in order to design safe and effective minimal processing regimes.

KEYWORDS:

fresh cut; pathogens; stress; stressors

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