The heat inactivating effect of low-pressure carbonation (LPC) at 1 MPa against Escherichia coli was enhanced to 3.5log orders. This study aimed to investigate the mechanisms of this increase in heat inactivation efficiency. The increased inactivation ratio was found to be the result of LPC-induced heat sensitization. This sensitization was not due to any physical damage to the cells as a result of the treatment. Following the depletion of intracellular ATP, the failure of the cells to discard protons caused an abnormal decrease in the intracellular pH. However, in the presence of glucose, the inactivation ratio decreased. In addition, a further increase in inactivation of more than 2log orders occurred in the presence of the protein synthesis inhibitor chloramphenicol. Hence, the decreased heat resistance of E. coli under LPC was most likely due to a depletion of intracellular ATP and a decreased capacity for protein synthesis.