Microbial spoilage is one of the key challenges to food preservation and safety. Sodium nitrite, the commonly used antibacterial, is associated with the generation of nitroso compounds known to impose a number of health risks including cancer. In this article, we report a comparison of a number of food-grade antibacterials, not known to generate nitroso compounds, for the inhibition of Clostridium sporogenes. These include e-poly-lysine, potassium cinnamate, chitosan, and glycerol monolaurate. We examined the effects of these agents alone and in combination on cell morphology, cell wall, cell membrane permeability, and bacterial proteins of C. sporogenes. The results show that these agents primarily act to inhibit C. sporogenes growth during log phase. Further analysis with flow cytometry... and scanning electron microscopy revealed that the compound can induce changes to the morphology of C. sporogenes cells and, more significantly, to the internal structure of the cells. Treatment of C. sporogenes with the compound inhibited the normal growth of bacterial cells by damaging their wall structure and increasing their wall permeability. The changing pattern of electric conductivity indicated that the compound destroyed cytoplasmic membranes and resulted in ion leakage. Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis of soluble proteins concluded that the compound can destroy bacterial cells by altering their proteins.