Compendium of the Microbiological Spoilage of Foods and Beverages

Part of the series Food Microbiology and Food Safety pp 135-183


Microbiological Spoilage of Fruits and Vegetables

  • Margaret BarthAffiliated withResponsible Source Email author 
  • , Thomas R. HankinsonAffiliated withProduce Safety Solutions, Inc.
  • , Hong ZhuangAffiliated withAgricultural Research Service­USDA, Russell Research Center
  • , Frederick BreidtAffiliated withUSDA Agricultural Research Service, North Carolina State University

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Consumption of fruit and vegetable products has dramatically increased in the United States by more than 30% during the past few decades. It is also estimated that about 20% of all fruits and vegetables produced is lost each year due to spoilage. The focus of this chapter is to provide a general background on microbiological spoilage of fruit and vegetable products that are organized in three categories: fresh whole fruits and vegetables, fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, and fermented or acidified vegetable products. This chapter will address characteristics of spoilage microorganisms associated with each of these fruit and vegetable categories including spoilage mechanisms, spoilage defects, prevention and control of spoilage, and methods for detecting spoilage microorganisms.