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Food Microbiol. 2010 Feb;27(1):33-6. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Jul 24.

Evaluation of the efficacy of four weak acids as antifungal preservatives in low-acid intermediate moisture model food systems.

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CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences, Riverside Corporate Park, North Ryde, NSW 2113 Australia.


The potential efficacy of four weak acids as preservatives in low-acid intermediate moisture foods was assessed using a glycerol based agar medium. The minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC, % wt./wt.) of each acid was determined at two pH values (pH 5.0, pH 6.0) and two a(w) values (0.85, 0.90) for five food spoilage fungi, Eurotium herbariorum, Eurotium rubrum, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus and Penicillium roqueforti. Sorbic acid, a preservative commonly used to control fungal growth in low-acid intermediate moisture foods, was included as a reference. The MIC values of the four acids were lower at pH 5.0 than pH 6.0 at equivalent a(w) values, and lower at 0.85 a(w) than 0.90 a(w) at equivalent pH values. By comparison with the MIC values of sorbic acid, those of caprylic acid and dehydroacetic acid were generally lower, whereas those for caproic acid were generally higher. No general observation could be made in the case of capric acid. The antifungal activities of all five weak acids appeared related not only to the undissociated form, but also the dissociated form, of each acid.

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