Micro-organisms are invisible living cells. The most common micro-organisms are: bacteria, parasites, viruses, moulds and yeasts.

The most common micro-organisms that cause food poisonings are bacteria.

Bacteria are single celled organisms that reproduces through multiplication, that means it reproduces by dividing itself. One cell becomes two, two cells becomes four, four cells become eight and so on. In perfect conditions, bacteria can reproduce and double its number every 20 minutes. The number of bacteria can reach dangerous levels very quickly in a short period of time.

To grow bacteria need: food, acid, temperature, time, oxygen and moisture.

Most disease causing bacteria grow best at pH¹ of 5 to 8.

Food poisoning occur when the food eaten is contamined with living pathogenic bacteria. Pathogenic bacteria are dangerous because they are odourless and teastless which make them difficult to detect in the food.

Spoilage organisms cause odours and smell bad and are easy to detect. They are less dangerous and may or may not make you ill. Because they are so easy to detect, in most cases people will not eat them.

NOTE: There are also some micro-organisms beneficial to humans such as the ones that make cheese, sauerkraut, yogurt etc.

¹pH is the level of acid in food. Neutral is zero (0).

Related Info:

Real Cooking

Did You Know?
Bacteria (especially E. coli) may be used to replicate DNA in the form of a plasmid. This DNA is often chemically modified in vitro then inserted into bacteria to select for the desired traits and isolate the desired product from by-products of the reaction. After growing the bacteria and thereby replicating the DNA, the DNA may be further modified and inserted into other organisms. More...
* * *
Bacteria grow best in the temperature range between 4ºC and 60ºC. Temperature below 4ºC, and temperature between 60ºC and 74ºC, will not kill bacteria, but it will not allow them to multiply enough times to cause an illness. In order to kill pathogenic bacteria you need temperatures above 74ºC. Temperature is the easiest factor to control in order to prevent bacterial growth.
Find out more...

* * *
Bacterial intoxication will typically have shorter incubation period than infection (with sudden onset), which usually only lasts one day and fever is rarely present. More...
* * *
Improperly handled food and equipment, poorly washed dishes and multi-service articles have potential to spread pathogenic bacteria and open the door for dangerous foodborne diseases. More...

CookingChoice.com FREE Recipes