Predictive Microbiology


Predictive microbiology is a depiction of the responses of microorganisms to particular environmental conditions such as temperature, pH, and water activity. It uses mathematical models (built with data from laboratory testing) and computer software that graphically describe these responses. Predictive microbiology provides the condensed knowledge of traditional microbiology combined with the disciplines of statistics, mathematics and information systems, and technology to explain the microbial behaviour to prevent food spoilage as well as food-borne illnesses. The microbial growth and their survival or death in foods is determined by the properties of food (e.g., water activity and pH) and the storage conditions (e.g., temperature, relative humidity, and atmosphere). It describes the microbial behavior in different environments and helps us understand and manage food-borne microorganisms' ecology. Predictive microbiology makes certain that the behaviour of the microorganism is reproducible and quantifiable by characterizing environmental factors. These factors control microbial viability (e.g. temp, aw, pH, organic acids), assist in defining preventive controls (e.g. critical limits), help regulatory authorities develop standards, and help companies meet standards that minimize microbiological testing and ensure food safety and control. Some of the more frequently used models are listed below:


  • Combase
  • Pathogen modelling program
  • Growth predictor and Perfringens predictor

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