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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018 Feb 11;58(3):486-511. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2016.1194256. Epub 2017 Jun 12.

Natural antimicrobial/antioxidant agents in meat and poultry products as well as fruits and vegetables: A review.

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a Department of Food Science and Agricultural Chemistry , McGill University , Quebec , Canada.


Synthetic preservatives are widely used by the food industry to control the growth of spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms and to inhibit the process of lipid oxidation extending the shelf-life, quality and safety of food products. However, consumer's preference for natural food additives and concern regarding the safety of synthetic preservatives prompted the food industry to look for natural alternatives. Natural antimicrobials, including plant extracts and their essential oils, enzymes, peptides, bacteriocins, bacteriophages, and fermented ingredients have all been shown to have the potential for use as alternatives to chemical antimicrobials. Some spices, herbs and other plant extracts were also reported to be strong antioxidants. The antimicrobial/antioxidant activities of some plant extracts and/or their essential oils are mainly due to the presence of some major bioactive compounds, including phenolic acids, terpenes, aldehydes, and flavonoids. The proposed mechanisms of action of these natural preservatives are reported. An overview of the research done on the direct incorporation of natural preservatives agents into meat and poultry products as well as fruit and vegetables to extend their shelf-life is presented. The development of edible packaging materials containing natural preservatives is growing and their applications in selected food products are also presented in this review.


Natural antimicrobials; bioactive compounds; bioactive packaging; food applications; natural antioxidants; shelf-life

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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