Micro- and Nanoparticles for Controlling Microorganisms in Foods

Jochen Weiss, Qixin Zhong, Federico Harte, P. Michael Davidson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Microorganisms are of critical importance in the production, processing, storage, and utilization of food. There are three potential outcomes when microorganisms contaminate and/or grow in food products. They may cause disease in humans consuming the product, they may spoil the product, or they may ferment a raw product to produce a new food product. Pathogenic or disease-causing microorganisms can reproduce in foods (bacteria) or are carried by foods to infect a consuming host (parasites, viruses). Bacteria, yeasts, and molds cause food loss through spoilage of foods. Spoilage is manifested by undesirable changes in the flavor, odor, appearance, or texture of the food product. There also exist beneficial microorganisms among bacteria, yeasts, and molds. These microorganisms are used to produce novel foods through fermentation of milk, cereals, fruits, vegetables, and meats. The resulting products include cheeses, breads, wine, sauerkraut, and pepperoni, respectively, among others. Other beneficial microorganisms have been suggested or demonstrated to improve the gastrointestinal health of humans and other animals. These microorganisms are termed probiotics. Nanoparticles may play a role in improving food safety, reducing food spoilage, and delivering probiotics. Nanoparticles have a potential role in making food safer by delivering natural food antimicrobials to bacterial and viral pathogen targets to inactivate (bacteria and viruses) or inhibit (bacteria) their reproduction and growth. Against food spoilage bacteria, yeasts, and molds, nanoparticles can be used to deliver or potentiate the efficacy of natural and traditional antimicrobials to extend the shelf life of food products and reduce food loss. For human health and wellness, engineered nanostructures may be able to protect probiotic microorganisms and target their delivery to the gastrointestinal tract, thus improving gut health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLiposomes, Lipid Bilayers and Model Membranes
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Basic Research to Application
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781466507111
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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