Water limitation techniques can be useful tools to preserve food materials not only from autodecomposition, but also from microbial decomposition. Besides those organisms that might render a food unfit to eat because they can produce adverse compositional and textural changes, food-borne bacterial pathogens are also influenced by the amount of available water. This review considers several major food-borne bacterial pathogens and the effect of water limitation on various aspects of their growth. Wherever possible, references have been included which pertain to the influence of water limitation on these organisms in foods. The data reviewed indicate that food-borne bacterial pathogens in general can grow at water activity levels of 0.83 to 0.999. The implications of this wide aw range for prevention of growth of food pathogens and thus, the safety of foods, are discussed.

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