Growth on benzoate question.

R Molony molab at
Mon Dec 8 16:38:08 EST 1997

swturner at (Shad Turner) wrote:

>Hi there. I'm a microbi undergrad student in a soil diversity lab. In the 
>lab, I isolated several strains of soil bacteria who could grow happily 
>on benzoate as a sole carbon source, but a question at the end of the lab 
>queries why this happens when benzoate is used as a preservative in many 
>foods. So, how could this happen?

Benzoate is effective only at low pH typically less than 4 above this
its efficiency is limited.
It is also an anti yeast preservative not anti bacterial.
Many common lactic bacteria are resistant to it.
One trick sometimes used when trying to isolated lactic bacteria when
there is a lot of yeast present is to add benzoate or sorbate to the
culture medium. Yeast are suppressed and lactics grow. Effect is
similar to actidione agar.

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