calcium propionate as bread preservative

Mon Nov 4 20:12:28 EST 1996

Cheryl Ransick writes:
> I have a science project measuring mold growth on bread.  (college
> level) I am comparing growth on preserved bread vs. non-preserved
> bread.  The bread I am using is preserved with calcium propionate.  I
> am having trouble finding information on this preservative and need
> help!
The following is from the reference noted below.
Propionic acid is produced by variuous species of Propionibacterium.
During the manufacture of Swiss cheese,k it has the important function of
preventing the growths of molds and adds to the flavor as well.  Gas
formation by propionic bacteria produces the characteristic eyes or
holes in Swiss cheese.  Control of mold growth in malt extracts,
chocolate, cottage cheese and fruits nad vegetables is obtained by their
(propionates) use.

The inhibitory action of sodium propionate is more effective in acid
media (3.5 to 4.5) than at higher pH values.

Propionates are used to inhibit the growth of molds in chewing and
smoking tobacco.

> What does calcium propionate actually do to the bread?
Unfortunately the mechanism of propionate's action is not given.

> Where can I find more information on this preservative?
Try "Disinfection, Sterilization and Preservation by Seymour S. Block.
They list a number of references that might yield more info.  One
reference listed, "Principles of Food Science" by Borgstrom, might be
of use.
Dick Murphy
|Richard A. Murphy, PhD              Internet: murph at uic.edu        |
|University of Illinois at Chicago   Fax: 1-312-996-1022            |
|Department of Oral Medicine         Phone: 1-312-996-8630          |
|  and Diagnostic Sciences                                          |
|801 S. Paulina                                                     |
|Chicago, IL 60612                                                  |

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