Preservatives in food

Preservatives are generally chemicals that are added in food beverages, medicine drugs, paints, etc. The preservatives are added into these items in order to increase the life of the product. The preservatives keep the product safe from getting damage and corrode. The chemical preservatives avoid any microbial growth or any other chemical changes that would deteriorate the products. There are basically two types of preservatives. They are chemical and physical preservatives. The physical preservation includes the process of keeping the food under refrigeration. Other methods of preserving the food by the means of physical preservatives is by dehydration, freezing and drying action, UV rays treatment.

The chemical preservatives are basically different types of chemicals added to the food beverages to increase the life expectancy of the food item. These chemicals avoid any fungal and microbial adverse effects on food. There are certain enzymes present in the fruits and vegetables that are naturally available in them. These enzymes are basically type of proteins that help them in staying fresh and damage free. But after the harvest, they get cut off and it becomes difficult for them to fight against bacteria and microbes.

There are several types of chemical preservatives. Some of them are as follows:

Antimicrobial chemical preservatives

This is one of the most traditional methods for the preservation of food by the inhibition of bacterial growth. The traditional methods include the method of pickling the food and adding honey in the food in order to avoid any further growth of bacteria. The main chemical in action here is the lactic acid. The nitrates and nitrites are also used antimicrobial. Water based products make use of chemical preservatives like formaldehyde releasers. This is a type of broad spectrum preservative.


A large amount of food gets wasted due to the oxidation of food. The oxidation process turns the fats in the food in rancid. This deteriorates the food and makes it not edible. The antioxidants are added to the food to inhibit the oxidation of the fats in the food. These famous antioxidants are ascorbic acid and ascorbates. The ascorbic acid is vitamin C. Some of the other antioxidants are derivatives of phenyl. Thus, antioxidants are added into the chips and cheese and other high fats content beverages.

Other preservatives

Some of the other natural preservatives include rosemary, oregano extract, alcohol, vinegar, salts, sugar, etc. Traditionally, sodium benzoate was also used as one of the preservatives for food. But later due to some health effects observed on several asthma patients its use was certainly decreased.



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