The first chapter deals with the chemistry of sorbic acid and sulfur dioxide. The second chapter describes a study of the degradation products of sorbic acid, in aqueous systems, in the presence of sulfur dioxide and a possible mechanism for the occurrence of these products is proposed. Chapter three deals with the preparation and degradation of 6-(/sup 13/C)sorbic acid in order to find evidence for, or against, the mechanism proposed in chapter two. It also gives details of syntheses attempted in order to obtain 6- (/sup 13/C)sorbic acid. The interaction of sorbic acid and sulfur dioxide in real food systems is the subject of the fourth chapter. The food systems studied were mayonnaise, tomato puree, orange juice and cottage cheese. The effect of packaging on the rate of degradation of sorbic acid was also investigated. The final chapter deals with a microbiological study of two homologues of sorbic acid, 2,4-heptadienoic acid, 2,4-octadienoic acid. The fungicidal activity of these two compounds, towards selected fungi, was analyzed. 4-Oxobut-2-enoic acid, a degradation product of sorbic acid in aqueous systems, was also analyzed as a possible fungistat.