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Int J Food Microbiol. 2002 Nov 15;79(1-2):3-16.

Preservation and fermentation: past, present and future.

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Preservation of food and beverages resulting from fermentation has been an effective form of extending the shelf-life of foods for millennia. Traditionally, foods were preserved through naturally occurring fermentations, however, modern large scale production generally now exploits the use of defined strain starter systems to ensure consistency and quality in the final product. This review will mainly focus on the use of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) for food improvement, given their extensive application in a wide range of fermented foods. These microorganisms can produce a wide variety of antagonistic primary and secondary metabolites including organic acids, diacetyl, CO2 and even antibiotics such as reuterocyclin produced by Lactobacillus reuteri. In addition, members of the group can also produce a wide range of bacteriocins, some of which have activity against food pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes and Clostridium botulinum. Indeed, the bacteriocin nisin has been used as an effective biopreservative in some dairy products for decades, while a number of more recently discovered bacteriocins, such as lacticin 3147, demonstrate increasing potential in a number of food applications. Both of these lactococcal bacteriocins belong to the lantibiotic family of posttranslationally modified bacteriocins that contain lanthionine, beta-methyllanthionine and dehydrated amino acids. The exploitation of such naturally produced antagonists holds tremendous potential for extension of shelf-life and improvement of safety of a variety of foods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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