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Int J Food Microbiol. 2003 Dec 31;89(2-3):125-38.

Combining nonthermal technologies to control foodborne microorganisms.

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Department of Food Science, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1.


Novel nonthermal processes, such as high hydrostatic pressure (HHP), pulsed electric fields (PEFs), ionizing radiation and ultrasonication, are able to inactivate microorganisms at ambient or sublethal temperatures. Many of these processes require very high treatment intensities, however, to achieve adequate microbial destruction in low-acid foods. Combining nonthermal processes with conventional preservation methods enhances their antimicrobial effect so that lower process intensities can be used. Combining two or more nonthermal processes can also enhance microbial inactivation and allow the use of lower individual treatment intensities. For conventional preservation treatments, optimal microbial control is achieved through the hurdle concept, with synergistic effects resulting from different components of the microbial cell being targeted simultaneously. The mechanisms of inactivation by nonthermal processes are still unclear; thus, the bases of synergistic combinations remain speculative. This paper reviews literature on the antimicrobial efficiencies of nonthermal processes combined with conventional and novel nonthermal technologies. Where possible, the proposed mechanisms of synergy is mentioned.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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