Basic aspect of food preservation by hurdle technology
Hurdle technology is used in industrialized as well as in developing countries for the gentle but effective preservation of foods. Previously hurdle technology, i.e., a combination of preservation methods, was used empirically without much knowledge of the governing principles. Since about 20 years the intelligent application of hurdle technology became more prevalent, because the principles of major preservative factors for foods (e.g., temperature, pH, a(w), Eh, competitive flora), and their interactions, became better known. Recently, the influence of food preservation methods on the physiology and behaviour of microorganisms in foods, i.e. their homeostasis, metabolic exhaustion, stress reactions, are taken into account, and the novel concept of multitarget food preservation emerged. In the present contribution a brief introduction is given on the potential hurdles for foods, the hurdle effect, and the hurdle technology. However, emphasis is placed on the homeostasis, metabolic exhaustion, and stress reactions of microorganisms related to hurdle technology, and the prospects of the future goal of a multitarget preservation of foods.