What is the Importance of Food Microbiology?

Posted by sanzyme Biologics on January 6th, 2021

Food microbiology is basically a study of the microorganisms which inhabit, create, or contaminate food, which includes the study of microorganisms causing food spoilage. Microbiology is also important for food safety, production, processing, preservation, and storage. Students use a wide variety of modern technologies in the field of immunology, microbiology, and molecular biology. Some microbes like yeasts, molds, and bacteria are being used for the production of foods and food ingredients. Some beneficial microbes are exploited in the fermentative production, processing, and preservation of foods and beverages. Food safety is a major focus of food microbiology. Harvested food can decompose from the moment they are harvested due to attacks from microorganisms due to bacteria, mold, fungi, and yeast.

Some microbial activity on the food is observed in order to determine the quality through the microbial population. Spoilage microorganisms can cause food producers, processors, and consumers millions of dollars annually in lost products. Lost productivity due to the illness caused by foodborne microorganisms is an enormous burden throughout the world.

Importance of Food Microbiology

a)      Food safety

Food safety is a major concern in food microbiology. There are numerous agents of disease and pathogens that are readily transmitted via food including bacteria and viruses. Many microbial toxins are also considered to be possible contaminants of food. However, some microorganisms and their products can also be used to combat these types of pathogenic microbes. Some probiotic bacteria, including those that produce bacteriocins, can kill and inhibit pathogens. Purified bacteriocins such as nisin can be added directly into the food products. Bacteriophages viruses can only be used to kill bacterial pathogens. Through food preparation or proper cooking, you can eliminate most bacteria and viruses.

b)      Fermentation

Fermentation is a method where you can preserve food and alter its quality. Yeast, especially Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is being used to leaven bread, brew beer, and make wine. Certain types of bacteria including lactic acid bacteria, are used to make yogurt, cheese, hot sauce, pickles, fermented sausages, and dishes such as kimchi. These fermentations' common effects are that the food product is less hospitable to other microorganisms like pathogens and spoilage-causing microorganisms, hence extending food’s shelf-life.

c)      Microbial biopolymers

There are many microbially produced biopolymers being used in the food industry, like:


Alginates are generally used as a thickening agent. Although commercial alginates like Microbial polysaccharides are currently only produced by extraction from brown seaweeds like Laminaria Hyperborea or L. japonica.

Poly-γ-glutamic acid

Poly-γ-glutamic acid is produced by various Bacillus strains with potential applications as a thickener in the food industry.

d)      Food testing

In order to ensure safety in food products, microbiological tests like testing for pathogens and spoilage organisms are needed. In this way, the risk of contamination under normal use conditions can be easily examined, and food poisoning outbreaks can be prevented. Testing of food products and ingredients is also important along the whole supply chain as there are many possible flaws of products that can occur at every stage of production. Apart from detecting spoilage, microbiological tests can also determine germ content identifying yeasts and molds, and salmonella.

Polymerase Chain Reaction is also a quick and inexpensive method to generate numbers of copies for a specific band's DNA fragments. For this reason, scientists are using PCR to detect different kinds of viruses or bacteria, such as HIV and unique DNA patterns.

Do you know that our body has 500 different types of probiotic strains and the lack of diversity in them can be linked with obesity, digestive, and other health issues? Let's see how we can cure them. Have you heard of strain development? In simple terms, strain development is all about improving an organism's genetics so that it can effectively and successfully carry out the biotechnological process. Another definition of strain development is manipulating and improving microbial strains, which can enhance metabolism in humans. With Strain development, it is possible to achieve the following things:

  • Rapid growth

  • Genetic stability

  • Eliminating the production of compounds that can interfere with downstream processing

  • Non-toxicity to humans

  • Improved use of Carbon and Nitrogen sources.

  • Reduction in cost of cultivation

  • Production of additional enzymes and compounds to inhibit contaminants of microorganisms

  • Reduction in fermentation time

Saccharomyces boulardii is a strain of yeast that has been studied for its probiotic impacts that can help in providing intestinal comfort. The strain survives the gastric acid and bile salts, and it is also stable in providing health benefits to the host.

Saccharomyces boulardii is mostly utilized for treating & preventing diarrhea which is also caused by the use of antibiotics and infections. It is also used for general digestion problems, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel syndrome, and bacterial overgrowth.

You can also use probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii for vaginal yeast infections, lactose intolerance, urinary tract infections (UTIs), fever blisters, high cholesterol levels, canker sores, hives, and teenage acne.

Probiotics contain several Bacillus species. These species have been used in consumption and in varieties of formulations that are available worldwide. Some Bacillus species include Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus clausii, Bacillus cereus, Bacillus coagulans, and Bacillus licheniformis that are commonly used by humans.

Here are the benefits of Saccharomyces boulardii

  • Some research has shown that Saccharomyces boulardii in children can reduce severe illness.

  • Some research has shown that taking Saccharomyces boulardii helps in treatment of acne.

  • Taking Saccharomyces boulardii with antibiotics can help to prevent Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea from recurring in people.

  • Taking Saccharomyces boulardii along with standard H. pylori can help in treating digestive tract infection.

However, note that: 

  • Some research has shown that giving Saccharomyces boulardii to premature infants does not prevent NEC or death from any cause.

  • Saccharomyces boulardii doesn’t improve symptoms of cholera.

  • Research shows that taking Saccharomyces boulardii doesn’t reduce yeast infections in the digestive tract for people who suffer from cystic fibrosis.

Microbial Food Ingredients

There are many enzymes from bacteria, yeasts, molds, and from plant and mammalian sources which are currently used for processing foods and food ingredients. Some of the yeast species used for the production of proteins are from genera Candida, Saccharomyces, Torulopsis, and Methylophilus. Enzymes are produced either by surface culture on solid substrates or by submerged culture using liquid substrates. The success of commercial enzyme production hugely depends on maximizing the activity of the microorganism and minimizing costs of the substrate, incubation, and recovery procedures.

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sanzyme Biologics

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sanzyme Biologics
Joined: January 6th, 2021
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