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  1. What is food spoilage
  2. Causes of the spoilage of food
  1. Microbial spoilage
  2. Autolysis
  3. Other factors
  1. Three types of food decay
  2. Example of food spoilage

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What is food spoilage?

Food spoilage means the original nutritional value, texture, flavour of the food are damaged, the food become harmful to people and unsuitable to eat.

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Causes of the spoilage of food

The picture of spoiled food

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  1. Microbial spoilage

There are three types of microorganisms that cause food spoilage -- yeasts, moulds and bacteria.

Fungal Spoilage
Storage rot in grapes caused by Botrytis cinerea.
Storage rot in strawberry caused by Botrytis cinerea.
Blue mould rot in tomato caused by Penicilliumi spp. (also by Fusarium spp.)
Black mummy rot of grapes caused by Guignardia bidwellii
Watery soft rot in apple caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum.
Blue mould on oranges caused by Penicillium digitatum.

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Bacterial Spoilage
Soft rot in tomato caused by Erwinia carotovora.

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  1. Autolysis

Enzymes are proteins found in all plants and animals. If uncooked foods are not used while fresh, enzymes cause undesirable changes in colour, texture and flavour. Enzymes are destroyed easily by heat processing.

Atmospheric oxygen can react with some food components which may cause rancidity or color changes.

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  1. Other factors

Low Temperature Injury
Internal mahogany browning of potato caused by low temperature injury.
Chilling injury in cucumber caused by low temperature. Note the watery surface.

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Types of food decay

There are three types of food decay:

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Example of food spoilage

To prevent food spoilage, see also preservations.

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