Synthetic Preservatives versus Natural Anti-Microbial and Anti-Fungal Compounds

Preservatives and preserving methods have been used since the beginning of civilization.

They include but not restricted to; Salt, Sugar/ Honey (eg. high sugar like in jam), Increase friendly microbes (eg. Yogurt), Fermentation (eg. Saukraut), Brine (eg. Pickles), Alcohol and Vinegar, or combination (Cheese)

These preservatives/ methods were used with temperature and moisture control such as but not restricted to; Storing in Cool Areas (like a fridge in underground stone pots away from the sun), or Hot Area (eg. Sun-Dried Tomatoes) With the result, the loss of water (eg. loss of water from the tomatoes) or decrease in pH (tomatoes becoming more acidic) or a combination of the two (eg. as in the case of fermented sausages). People in all nations would pickle, smoke or store foods after a harvest, so they could eat these foods at a later date; normally during winter when food was scarce or in fear of a drought and famine or war (food bunkers).

With now enjoy food security in developed countries, better understand natural compounds at a scientific level and also the isolation or the synthetic creation of preservatives. Synthetic preservatives are in most food products, however this poses possible health risks.

Today, common antimicrobial preservatives include calcium propionate, potassium sorbate, sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, sulfites - sulfur dioxide etc., and antioxidants (eg. BHA and BHT). Many consumers are afraid of the use of these synthetic compounds. In fact, some preservatives have been used at sub-optimal levels and have actually been shown to enhance mould growth Marn et. al. 2002.

However, in their credit, the addition of these products decrease the likelihood of food poisoning and also assist to stabilize the food security of the world through safer food logistic chains.

However, there is a growing need for naturally occurring food preservatives as most people have limited knowledge of chemistry and pharmacology and wish to eat a more natural product as adverse affects of modern preservatives have been observed (eg. allergens). For more information regarding allergens please search at

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