Resistance development

Potential food antimicrobials should not contribute to the development of resistant strains nor alter the environment of the food in such a way that growth of another pathogen is selected. There has been much interest in the effect of environmental stress factors (e.g., heat, cold, starvation, low pH/organic acids) on developed resistance of microorganisms to subsequent stressors. This developed resistance is termed tolerance, adaptation, or habituation depending upon how the microorganism is exposed to the stress and the physiological conditions that lead to enhanced survival (Foster, 1995; Buchanan and Edelson, 1999). It has been demonstrated that pathogens can develop a tolerance or adaptation to organic acids following prior exposure to low pH. While this increased resistance may be a problem in application of organic acids for controlling pathogens, it has not been demonstrated that this is a problem in actual food processing systems (Davidson and Harrison, 2002).

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