Montville, Thomas J. Department of Food Science, Cook College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Last reviewed:October 2016
Show previous versions
- Microbial ecology of foods
- Historical pathogens
- Emerging pathogens
- Beneficial foodborne organisms
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A subdiscipline in the field of microbiology concerned with the study of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that grow in or are transmitted by foods. Food microbiology is a broad field that can include not only microbiology, but also sanitation, epidemiology, biochemistry, engineering, statistics, and mathematical modeling. Although microorganisms (in particular, bacteria) are frequently associated with food spoilage and food poisoning, some species preserve foods through fermentation or produce food ingredients. Some people dismiss food poisoning as a minor annoyance. In reality, the suffering and economic losses stemming from foodborne pathogens are substantial, but they are often hidden. Annual economic losses from foodborne pathogens are extremely high (Fig. 1). For example, in the United States, Salmonella bacteria, which cause an average of 40,000 reported cases annually (with unreported cases possibly amounting to more than 1 million per year) and 400–600 deaths, are responsible for about a quarter of these losses. Individual outbreaks of foodborne diseases can affect thousands of people. Many outbreaks are predictable and preventable through good sanitation, preservatives, thermal processing, and refrigeration. More than half, however, are of unknown etiology, are poorly understood, and may be caused by new pathogens. See also: Food; Food engineering; Food fermentation; Food manufacturing; Food poisoning; Food preservation; Food safety and foodborne illness; Food science; Foodborne disease; Microbiology; Pathogen
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Its dedicated editorial team is led by Sagan Award winner John Rennie. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 39 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8500 articles and Research Reviews covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 17,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information