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Advances in Applied Microbiology
Volume 107, 2019, Pages 29-82

Microbes associated with fresh produce: Sources, types and methods to reduce spoilage and contamination

Maciej Kaczmareka, Simon V.Averyb, Ian Singletona

School of Applied Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University, Sighthill Court, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.


Global food security remains one of the most important challenges that needs to be addressed to ensure the increasing demand for food of the fast growing human population is satisfied. Fruits and vegetables comprise an essential component of a healthy balanced diet as they are the major source of both macro- and micronutrients. They are particularly important for communities in developing countries whose nutrition often relies solely on a plant-based diet. Recent advances in agriculture and food processing technologies have facilitated production of fresh, nutritious and safe food for consumers. However, despite the development of sophisticated chemical and physical methods of food and equipment disinfection, fresh-cut produce and fruit juice industry still faces significant economic losses due to microbial spoilage. Furthermore, fresh produce remains an important source of pathogens that have been causing outbreaks of human illness worldwide. This chapter characterizes common spoilage and human pathogenic microorganisms associated with fresh-cut produce and fruit juice products, and discusses the methods and technology that have been developed and utilized over the years to combat them. Substantial attention is given to highlight advantages and disadvantages of using these methods to reduce microbial spoilage and their efficacy to eliminate human pathogenic microbes associated with consumption of fresh-cut produce and fruit juice products.

Keywords: Microbial spoilage, Fresh-cut produce, Fruit juice, Food spoilage prevention methods.

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