What is Food Microbiology?

Nobody wants to get sick from eating their food. Unfortunately, it happens, and in most cases it is due to some sort of microorganism in your food. In order to prevent these illnesses, producers need to understand which microorganism can grow on their food and how they can prevent them from being and growing there. Understanding microorganisms is an essential tool to make safe food!

But that’s not all. Microorganisms can’t just make us sick. They can also transform our food into some even more delicious. Yogurt, cheese, beer, wine, soy sauce, kimchi, sauerkraut and many more foods wouldn’t exist without microorganisms.

Food microbiologist study all microorganisms in food, both those that make us sick and those that help us make good food. Food microbiology is an important field within the food science discipline. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to make good & safe food.

homemade yogurt
This yogurt wouldn’t exist without microorganisms!

Some possible scenarios that food microbiologist might be studying are:

  • How fast (or slow) micro organisms grow in our food under varying conditions. Sometimes we might want them to grow faster whereas in other cases we definitely do not.
  • How microorganisms negatively (or positively) affect the quality of our food. For example, an apple can be spoiled by an excessive amount of mold growth, whereas growth of the correct bacteria on cabbage can make a delicious sauerkraut!
  • How to ensure that certain undesirable microorganisms aren’t present in your food.
  • How different microorganisms are related to one another (the field of taxonomy). This can help them determine where a specific strain of Salmonella comes from for instance!

Food Microbiology Journal

Scientists publish their research outcomes in scientific journals. One of the journals dedicated to the field of food microbiology is appropriately called just that, ‘Food Microbiology’. This journal will publish articles on the following topics:

Described scope and aim of the Food Microbiology journal and types of articles that will be accepted. link (retrieved Oct-2021)