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I was recently watching a video from the International Space Station (Making a peanut butter sandwich in space), and I noticed he mentioned that a tortilla kept in an oxygen-free environment could last up to 18 months. Impressive, but it got me thinking: Why would some foods ever spoil if kept in a state where molds would not be able to grow? Would it be that other micro-organisms in things like the moisture present in the food eventually take their natural toll? Just a curious thought I had while watching through these awesome ISS videos.

Thanks for any answers!

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First of all, you assumed that this tortilla went bad after 18 month, not that austranaughts just decided to eat it?

More importantly, there is thing called anaerobs. Just like your muscle don't use oxygen in times of acute stress (force requirement), so there are organisms that don't care much about oxygen. As it happens in muscle, it happens in yeast during fermentation when sugars are turned into alcohols and released energy is used to propel molecular machinery. So, if there are sugar molecules on tortilla, there are still microbes that willing to prosper on it.

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