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The preservation of food Different government organisation such as the world Health WHO and the United Nations Foods and Agriculture Organisation FAO have different definitions of food additives In laymen terms a food additive is any substance added to food Definition Any substance the intended use of which or may reasonably be expected to result directly or indirectly in its becoming a component to otherwise affect the characteristics of any food Mechanisms of action of food Preservation procedures GWGould page 2 The food Protection committee of the institute of medicines Food and Nutrition Board Defines and additive as a substance or mixture of substance other than a basic foodstuff which is present in a food as a result of any aspect of production processing storage or packaging Types or different form of food preservatives Food preservatives are classified into two main groups antioxidants and antimicrobials Antioxidants are compounds that delay or prevent the deterioration of foods by oxidative mechanisms For example enzymes called phenolases catalyse the oxidation of certain molecules eg the amino acid tyrosine when fruits and vegetables such as apples bananas and potatoes are cut or bruised The product of these oxidation reactions collectively known as enzymatic browning is a dark pigment called melanin Antioxidants that inhibit enzyme-catalysed oxidation include agents that bind free oxygen ie reducing agents such as ascorbic acid vitamin C and agents that inactivate the enzymes such as citric acid and sulphites Antimicrobial agents inhibit the growth of spoilage and pathogenic micro-organisms in food Antimicrobials are most often used with other preservation techniques such as refrigeration in order to inhibit the growth of spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms Sodium chloride NaCl or common salt is probably the oldest known antimicrobial agent Organic acids including acetic benzoic propionic and sorbic acids are used against micro-organisms in products with a low pH Refer to the fig 1
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