“Green preservatives” – combating fungi in the food industry by applying antifungal lactic acid bacteria

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Pawlowska, Agata
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University College Cork
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Fungal spoilage is the most common type of microbial spoilage in food leading to significant economical and health problems throughout the world. Fermentation by lactic acid bacteria (LAB) is one of the oldest and most economical methods of producing and preserving food. Thus, LAB can be seen as an interesting tool in the development of novel bio-preservatives for food industry. The overall objective of this study was to demonstrate, that LAB can be used as a natural way to improve the shelf-life and safety of a wide range of food products. In the first part of the thesis, 116 LAB isolates were screened for their antifungal activity against four Aspergillus and Penicillium spp. commonly found in food. Approximately 83% of them showed antifungal activity, but only 1% showed a broad range antifungal activity against all tested fungi. The second approach was to apply LAB antifungal strains in production of food products with extended shelf-life. L. reuteri R29 strain was identified as having strong antifungal activity in vitro, as well as in sourdough bread against Aspergillus niger, Fusarium culmorum and Penicillium expansum. The ability of the strain to produce bread of good quality was also determined using standard baking tests. Another strain, L. amylovorus DSM19280, was also identified as having strong antifungal activity in vitro and in vivo. The strain was used as an adjunct culture in a Cheddar cheese model system and demonstrated the inhibition of P. expansum. Significantly, its presence had no detectable negative impact on cheese quality as determined by analysis of moisture, salt, pH, and primary and secondary proteolysis. L. brevis PS1 a further strain identified during the screening as very antifungal, showed activity in vitro against common Fusarium spp. and was used in the production of a novel functional wortbased alcohol-free beverage. Challenge tests performed with F. culmorum confirmed the effectiveness of the antifungal strain in vivo. The shelf-life of the beverage was extended significantly when compared to not inoculated wort sample. A range of antifungal compounds were identified for the 4 LAB strains, namely L. reuteri ee1p, L. reuteri R29, L. brevis PS1 and L. amylovorous DSM20531. The identification of the compounds was based on liquid chromatography interfaced to the mass spectrometer and PDA detector
Biopreservatives , Fungi , Mycotoxins
Pawlowska, A. 2013. “Green preservatives” – combating fungi in the food industry by applying antifungal lactic acid bacteria. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.