Application of supercritical fluid carbon dioxide in improving food shelf-life and safety by inactivating spores: a review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extending shelf-life of food, ensuring it is safe for consumers and meeting regulatory standards is the food industry’s governing principle. Food safety is an essential aspect of food processing. Spores-forming microbes such as Bacillus spp. and Clostridium spp. are problematic in the food industry because of their ability to form endospores and survive processing conditions. Hence, their germination in food poses a threat to both shelf-life and safety of food. This paper reports on the current state of supercritical fluid carbon dioxide (SF-CO2) application in the inactivation of spores-forming microbes in food. Unlike high hydrostatic pressure and thermal processes which struggle to deactivate and destroy spores, and if they do, it impacts adversely on the food nutritional and quality attributes. This technique is viable to inactivate spores and maintain the foods structural and nutritional characteristics. The mechanisms of inactivation can be grouped into: (1) release of cellular content due to rupture of the cell wall, coat and cortex, and disruption of membranes, (2) degradation of proteins as a result of interaction with permeated and penetrated SF-CO2 and (3) deactivation of enzymatic activities. It was discovered that the synergistic effect of ultrasound another non-thermal technique or addition of co-solvent such as water, hydrogen peroxide and ethanol or antimicrobial peptide greatly enhanced inactivation of spores. This work harmonizes published perspectives on spores’ inactivation mechanisms, and will help inform further research into the application of SF-CO2 in the sterilization of food products.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417–428
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Food Science and Technology
Issue number2
Early online date16 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding was provided by Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Nigeria (Grant No. PTDF/ED/OSS/PHD/CKA/1566/19) for CA.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Crown.


  • Supercritical carbon dioxide
  • Food safety and quality
  • Spores inactivation
  • Food spoilage
  • Food processing and preservation


Dive into the research topics of 'Application of supercritical fluid carbon dioxide in improving food shelf-life and safety by inactivating spores: a review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this