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J Food Sci Technol. 2015 Sep;52(9):5408-17. doi: 10.1007/s13197-014-1666-2. Epub 2015 Feb 11.

Strategies for the use of bacteriocins in Gram-negative bacteria: relevance in food microbiology.

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Departamento de Microbiologia, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Av. PH Rolfs, s/n, Viçosa, 36570-900 Minas Gerais Brazil.


Bacteriocins are ribosomally synthesized peptides that have bacteriostatic or bactericidal effects on other bacteria. The use of bacteriocins has emerged as an important strategy to increase food security and to minimize the incidence of foodborne diseases, due to its minimal impact on the nutritional and sensory properties of food products. Gram-negative bacteria are naturally resistant to the action of bacteriocins produced by Gram-positive bacteria, which are widely explored in foods. However, these microorganisms can be sensitized by mild treatments, such as the use of chelating agents, by treatment with plant essential oils or by physical treatments such as heating, freezing or high pressure processing. This sensitization is important in food microbiology, because most pathogens that cause foodborne diseases are Gram-negative bacteria. However, the effectiveness of these treatments is influenced by several factors, such as pH, temperature, the composition of the food and target microbiota. In this review, we comment on the main methods used for the sensitization of Gram-negative bacteria, especially Salmonella, to improve the action of bacteriocins produced by Gram-positive bacteria.


Bacteriocins; Biocontrol; Gram-negative bacteria; Outer membrane

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