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Int J Food Microbiol. 2007 Nov 30;120(1-2):51-70. Epub 2007 Jun 12.

Bacteriocin-based strategies for food biopreservation.

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Area de Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias Experimentales, Universidad de Jaén, Spain.


Bacteriocins are ribosomally-synthesized peptides or proteins with antimicrobial activity, produced by different groups of bacteria. Many lactic acid bacteria (LAB) produce bacteriocins with rather broad spectra of inhibition. Several LAB bacteriocins offer potential applications in food preservation, and the use of bacteriocins in the food industry can help to reduce the addition of chemical preservatives as well as the intensity of heat treatments, resulting in foods which are more naturally preserved and richer in organoleptic and nutritional properties. This can be an alternative to satisfy the increasing consumers demands for safe, fresh-tasting, ready-to-eat, minimally-processed foods and also to develop "novel" food products (e.g. less acidic, or with a lower salt content). In addition to the available commercial preparations of nisin and pediocin PA-1/AcH, other bacteriocins (like for example lacticin 3147, enterocin AS-48 or variacin) also offer promising perspectives. Broad-spectrum bacteriocins present potential wider uses, while narrow-spectrum bacteriocins can be used more specifically to selectively inhibit certain high-risk bacteria in foods like Listeria monocytogenes without affecting harmless microbiota. Bacteriocins can be added to foods in the form of concentrated preparations as food preservatives, shelf-life extenders, additives or ingredients, or they can be produced in situ by bacteriocinogenic starters, adjunct or protective cultures. Immobilized bacteriocins can also find application for development of bioactive food packaging. In recent years, application of bacteriocins as part of hurdle technology has gained great attention. Several bacteriocins show additive or synergistic effects when used in combination with other antimicrobial agents, including chemical preservatives, natural phenolic compounds, as well as other antimicrobial proteins. This, as well as the combined use of different bacteriocins may also be an attractive approach to avoid development of resistant strains. The combination of bacteriocins and physical treatments like high pressure processing or pulsed electric fields also offer good opportunities for more effective preservation of foods, providing an additional barrier to more refractile forms like bacterial endospores as well. The effectiveness of bacteriocins is often dictated by environmental factors like pH, temperature, food composition and structure, as well as the food microbiota. Foods must be considered as complex ecosystems in which microbial interactions may have a great influence on the microbial balance and proliferation of beneficial or harmful bacteria. Recent developments in molecular microbial ecology can help to better understand the global effects of bacteriocins in food ecosystems, and the study of bacterial genomes may reveal new sources of bacteriocins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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