The Relationship of Microorganisms to Sanitation

  • Norman G. Marriott
  • M. Wes Schilling
  • Robert B. Gravani
Part of the Food Science Text Series book series (FSTS)


Microorganisms cause food spoilage through degradation of appearance and flavor, and foodborne illness occurs through the ingestion of food containing microorganisms or toxins of public health concern. Control of microbial load from equipment, establishments, and foods is part of a sanitation program.

Microorganisms have a growth pattern similar to the shape of a bell curve and tend to proliferate and die at a logarithmic rate. Extrinsic factors that have the most effect on microbial growth kinetics are temperature, oxygen availability, and relative humidity. Intrinsic factors that affect growth rate most are water activity (Aw) and pH levels, oxidation-reduction potential, nutrient requirements, and presence of inhibitory substances. Chemical changes from microbial degradation occur primarily through enzymes, produced by microorganisms, which degrade proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and other complex molecules into simpler compounds.

The most common methods of microbial destruction are heat, chemicals, and irradiation, whereas the most common methods for inhibiting microbial growth are refrigeration, dehydration, and fermentation. Microbial load and taxonomy are measurements of the effectiveness of a sanitation program by various tests and diagnoses.


Bacteria Diagnostic tests Foodborne illness Microorganisms Molds Pathogens Viruses Yeasts 


  1. Anon (2008). Real-timer PCR test kit provides faster time to results. Food Saf 14(4): 36.Google Scholar
  2. Baeumner A (2004). Nanosensors identify pathogens in food. Food Technol 58(8): 51.Google Scholar
  3. Baker CA, Ricke (2015). Biofilms, processing equipment, and efficacy of sanitization. Food Qual Saf 22(4): 28.Google Scholar
  4. Caul EO (2000). Foodborne viruses. In The microbiological safety and quality of food, eds. Lund BM, Baird-Parker TC, Gould GW, 1457. Aspen Publ., Inc.: Gaithersburg, MD.Google Scholar
  5. Chaves BD, Brashears MM (2016–17). Mitigation of Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meats using lactic acid bacteria. Food Saf Mag 22(6): 56.Google Scholar
  6. Davidson PM (2003). Foodborne diseases in the United States. In Food plant sanitation, eds. Hui YH, et al., 7. Marcel Dekker, Inc.: New York.Google Scholar
  7. Duxbury D (2004). Keeping tabs on listeria. Food Technol 58(7): 74.Google Scholar
  8. Farber JM, Peterkin PI (2000). Listeria monocytogenes. In The microbiological safety and quality of food, eds. Lund BM, Baird-Parker TC, Gould GW, 1178. Aspen Publ., Inc.: Gaithersburg, MD.Google Scholar
  9. Fuhrman E (2014). On the offensive. The National Provisioner 228(6): 72.Google Scholar
  10. Goodridge CL, Goodrich D, Gottfried P, Edmonds P, Wyvill JC (2003). A rapid most-probable-number-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the detection and enumeration of Salmonella typhimurium in poultry wastewater. J Food Prot 66: 2302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Keefe LM (2011). Warning light. Meatingplace 06(11): 51.Google Scholar
  12. Koutchma (2016). Light technologies as post-lethality in meat processing. Meatingplace 09(16): 85.Google Scholar
  13. Lauer W (2012). PCR a simple solution for a more sustainable lab. Food Qual 19(3): 23.Google Scholar
  14. McCright (2016). Rapid microbial detection can pay big dividends. Food Qual Saf 23(5): 39.Google Scholar
  15. Niemira BA (2017). Targeting biofilms with cold plasma: New approaches to a persistent problem. Food Saf Mag 23(3): 24.Google Scholar
  16. Pruett WP, Dunn J (1994). Pulsed light reduction of pathogenic bacteria on beef carcass surfaces. Proc Meat Ind Res Conf, 93. American Meat Institute: Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  17. Reilly SS (2016). Biofilm and pathogen mitigation: A real culture change. Food Saf Mag 22(1): 16.Google Scholar
  18. Shapton DA, Shapton NF, eds. (1991). Microorganisms—An outline of their structure. In Principles and practices for the safe processing of foods, 209. Butterworth-Heinemann: Oxford.Google Scholar
  19. Smith GC (1994). Fecal material removal and bacterial count reduction by trimming and/or spray-washing beef external fat surfaces. Proc Meat Ind Res Conf, 31. American Meat Institute: Washington, DC.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norman G. Marriott
    • 1
  • M. Wes Schilling
    • 2
  • Robert B. Gravani
    • 3
  1. 1.Virginia Polytechnic Institute State UniversityBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of Food ScienceMississippi State UniversityMississippiUSA
  3. 3.Department of Food ScienceCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations