Natural Antimicrobials: Potential Applications for Improving Food Safety

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Quality and Safety".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2021) | Viewed by 19969

Special Issue Editors

Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via G. Campi 287, 41125 Modena, Italy
Interests: microbiology; multidrug resistance; essential oils; bacterial biofilms; bacteriocin and probiotics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Simona de Niederhausern
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Department of Life Sciences, ITALY
Interests: microbiology; immunology; bacteriology; bacteria

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Food products can be contaminated by a variety of pathogenic microorganisms, causing severe illness and foodborne outbreaks worldwide. Some of these microorganisms emerged during the last two decades, partly due to the increased consumption of ready-to-eat foods. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the U.S. alone, about 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3000 die due to foodborne infections each year. The number of foodborne illnesses reported is also probably underestimated. Therefore, it is extremely important to implement new strategies to be used alone or in combination with existing ones, capable of inhibiting or delaying the proliferation of pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms present in food. Chemical additives have been widely used, but they are not well accepted by consumers because the safety of their use is being questioned. For this reason, natural preservatives are considered a safer alternative that satisfy consumer preferences.

This Special Issue addresses cutting edge research and review articles related to recent developments on the use of natural antimicrobials to improving food safety.

Prof. Moreno Bondi
Dr. Ramona Iseppi
Dr. Simona de Niederhausern
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Bacteriocins and their producers
  • Essential oils
  • Chitosan
  • Lysozyme
  • Polyphenolic extracts, ε-poly-L-lysine
  • Phytochemicals, bioactive compounds
  • Other natural preservatives

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

20 pages, 1729 KiB  
Article
Effect of α-Terpineol on Chicken Meat Quality during Refrigerated Conditions
Foods 2021, 10(8), 1855; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10081855 - 11 Aug 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2984
Abstract
The present study was designed to evaluate the in vitro antimicrobial properties of nine bioactive compounds (BACs). Applying the disc paper and minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) assays, we found that the BACs with the widest spectrum of in vitro antibacterial activity against the [...] Read more.
The present study was designed to evaluate the in vitro antimicrobial properties of nine bioactive compounds (BACs). Applying the disc paper and minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) assays, we found that the BACs with the widest spectrum of in vitro antibacterial activity against the studied bacteria were carvacrol and α-terpineol (αTPN). Subsequently, αTPN was selected and applied at different concentrations into the fresh minced chicken meat. The meat was then vacuum packaged and stored for 14 days at 4 °C. Physicochemical properties, lipid oxidation (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, TBARS), electronic-nose-based smell detection, and microbiological characteristics were monitored. At day 14, meat treated with higher concentrations of αTPN (MIC-2 and MIC-4) exhibited a significantly increased pH and lightness (L*), increased yellowness (b*), decreased redness (a*), caused a significant decrease in water holding capacity (WHC), and decreased lipid oxidation by keeping TBARS scores lower than the control. Although αTPN showed perceptibly of overlapped aroma profiles, the E-nose was able to distinguish the odor accumulation of αTPN between the different meat groups. During the 2-week storage period, αTPN, particularly MIC-4, showed 5.3 log CFU/g reduction in aerobic mesophilic counts, causing total inhibition to the Pseudomonas lundessis, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella Typhimurium. These promising results highlight that αTPN is exploitable to improve the shelf life and enhance the safety of meat and meat products. Full article
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14 pages, 3647 KiB  
Article
In Vitro Activity of Selected Phenolic Compounds against Planktonic and Biofilm Cells of Food-Contaminating Yeasts
Foods 2021, 10(7), 1652; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10071652 - 17 Jul 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3019
Abstract
Phenolic compounds are natural substances that can be obtained from plants. Many of them are potent growth inhibitors of foodborne pathogenic microorganisms, however, phenolic activities against spoilage yeasts are rarely studied. In this study, planktonic and biofilm growth, and the adhesion capacity of [...] Read more.
Phenolic compounds are natural substances that can be obtained from plants. Many of them are potent growth inhibitors of foodborne pathogenic microorganisms, however, phenolic activities against spoilage yeasts are rarely studied. In this study, planktonic and biofilm growth, and the adhesion capacity of Pichia anomala, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Debaryomyces hansenii spoilage yeasts were investigated in the presence of hydroxybenzoic acid, hydroxycinnamic acid, stilbene, flavonoid and phenolic aldehyde compounds. The results showed significant anti-yeast properties for many phenolics. Among the tested molecules, cinnamic acid and vanillin exhibited the highest antimicrobial activity with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values from 500 µg/mL to 2 mg/mL. Quercetin, (−)-epicatechin, resveratrol, 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde, p-coumaric acid and ferulic acid were also efficient growth inhibitors for certain yeasts with a MIC of 2 mg/mL. The D. hansenii, P. anomala and S. pombe biofilms were the most sensitive to the phenolics, while the S. cerevisiae biofilm was quite resistant against the activity of the compounds. Fluorescence microscopy revealed disrupted biofilm matrix on glass surfaces in the presence of certain phenolics. Highest antiadhesion activity was registered for cinnamic acid with inhibition effects between 48% and 91%. The active phenolics can be natural interventions against food-contaminating yeasts in future preservative developments. Full article
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12 pages, 830 KiB  
Article
Antimicrobial Activity of Fermented Vegetable Byproduct Extracts for Food Applications
Foods 2021, 10(5), 1092; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10051092 - 14 May 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3435
Abstract
To prevent foodborne diseases and extend shelf-life, antimicrobial agents may be used in food to inhibit the growth of undesired microorganisms. In addition to the prevention of foodborne diseases, another huge concern of our time is the recovery of agri-food byproducts. In compliance [...] Read more.
To prevent foodborne diseases and extend shelf-life, antimicrobial agents may be used in food to inhibit the growth of undesired microorganisms. In addition to the prevention of foodborne diseases, another huge concern of our time is the recovery of agri-food byproducts. In compliance with these challenges, the aim of this work was to more deeply investigate the antimicrobial activity of extracts derived from fermented tomato, melon, and carrot byproducts, previously studied. All the fermented extracts had antimicrobial activity both in vitro and in foodstuff, showing even higher activity than commercial preservatives, tested for comparison against spoilage microorganisms and foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella spp., L. monocytogenes, and B. cereus. These promising results highlight an unstudied aspect for the production of innovative natural preservatives, exploitable to improve the safety and shelf-life of various categories of foodstuff. Full article
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11 pages, 1425 KiB  
Article
Antilisterial Activity of Bacteriocins Produced by Lactic Bacteria Isolated from Dairy Products
Foods 2020, 9(12), 1757; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9121757 - 27 Nov 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2619
Abstract
Sixty-nine Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria were isolated and identified from Italian dairy products (raw milk, cream, butter, soft cheese and yoghurt) to find new antimicrobial compounds to use as food bio-preservatives. All the isolates were preliminarily screened by the deferred antagonism [...] Read more.
Sixty-nine Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria were isolated and identified from Italian dairy products (raw milk, cream, butter, soft cheese and yoghurt) to find new antimicrobial compounds to use as food bio-preservatives. All the isolates were preliminarily screened by the deferred antagonism method for bacteriocin production. Afterwards, to evaluate the release of bacteriocin in liquid medium, the Cell-Free Supernatant Fluid (CFSF) of the best producers was tested by agar well diffusion assay. The study allowed the selection of three bacteriocin producing strains (Enterococcus faecium E23, Bifidobacterium thermophilum B23 and Lactobacillus bulgaricus L21), endowed with the strongest and broadest inhibitory capability against the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. The molecular characteristics and the chemical–physical properties of both producers and the respective bacteriocins were studied and compared. The results showed that E. faecium E23 was the best producer strain and its class IIa bacteriocins, called enterocin E23, exhibited a good spectrum of activity towards L. monocytogenes. Enterocin E23 was stable over a wide range of pH and at low temperatures for at least four months and, for this reason, it can be employed in refrigerated foods for the control of L. monocytogenes, the major concern in dairy products. Full article
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12 pages, 281 KiB  
Article
Susceptibility to Bacteriocins in Biofilm-Forming, Variable Staphylococci Isolated from Local Slovak Ewes’ Milk Lump Cheeses
Foods 2020, 9(9), 1335; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9091335 - 22 Sep 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2665
Abstract
Seventeen staphylococci isolated from 54 Slovak local lump cheeses made from ewes’ milk were taxonomically allotted to five species and three clusters/groups involving the following species: Staphylococcus aureus (5 strains), Staphylococcus xylosus (3 strains), Staphylococcus equorum (one strain) Staphylococcus succinus (5 strains) and [...] Read more.
Seventeen staphylococci isolated from 54 Slovak local lump cheeses made from ewes’ milk were taxonomically allotted to five species and three clusters/groups involving the following species: Staphylococcus aureus (5 strains), Staphylococcus xylosus (3 strains), Staphylococcus equorum (one strain) Staphylococcus succinus (5 strains) and Staphylococcus simulans (3 strains). Five different species were determined. The aim of the study follows two lines: basic research in connection with staphylococci, and further possible application of the bacteriocins. Identified staphylococci were mostly susceptible to antibiotics (10 out of 14 antibiotics). Strains showed γ-hemolysis (meaning they did not form hemolysis) except for S. aureus SAOS1/1 strain, which formed β-hemolysis. S. aureus SAOS1/1 strain was also DNase positive as did S. aureus SAOS5/2 and SAOS51/3. The other staphylococci were DNase negative. S. aureus SAOS1/1 and SAOS51/3 showed biofilm formation on Congo red agar. However, using quantitative plate assay, 12 strains out of 17 showed low-grade biofilm formation (0.1 ≤ A570 < 1), while five strains did not form biofilm (A570 < 0.1). The growth of all strains, including those strains resistant to enterocins, was inhibited by nisin and gallidermin, with high inhibition activity resulting in the inhibition zone in size from 1600 up to 102,400 AU/mL (arbitrary unit per milliliter). This study contributes to microbiota colonization associated with raw ewe’s milk lump cheeses; it also indicates bacteriocin treatment benefit, which can be used in prevention and/or elimination of staphylococci. Full article
24 pages, 4397 KiB  
Article
Polyvalent Phage CoNShP-3 as a Natural Antimicrobial Agent Showing Lytic and Antibiofilm Activities against Antibiotic-Resistant Coagulase-Negative Staphylococci Strains
Foods 2020, 9(5), 673; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9050673 - 23 May 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 4142
Abstract
Synthetic antimicrobials have a negative impact on food quality and consumer health, which is why natural antimicrobials are urgently needed. Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) has gained considerable importance for food poisoning and infection in humans and animals, particularly in biofilms. As a result, this [...] Read more.
Synthetic antimicrobials have a negative impact on food quality and consumer health, which is why natural antimicrobials are urgently needed. Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) has gained considerable importance for food poisoning and infection in humans and animals, particularly in biofilms. As a result, this study was conducted to control the CoNS isolated from food samples in Egypt. CoNS isolates were selected on the basis of their antibiotic susceptibility profiles and their biofilm-associated behavior. In this context, a total of 29 different bacteriophages were isolated and, in particular, lytic phages (6 isolates) were selected. The host range and physiological parameters of the lytic phages have been studied. Electron microscopy images showed that lytic phages were members of the families Myoviridae (CoNShP-1, CoNShP-3, and CoNSeP-2 isolates) and Siphoviridae (CoNShP-2, CoNSsP-1, and CoNSeP-1 isolates). CoNShP-1, CoNShP-2, and CoNShP-3 were found to be virulent to Staphylococcus haemolyticus, CoNSsP-1 to Staphylococcus saprophyticus and CoNSeP-1 and CoNSeP-2 to Staphylococcus epidermidis. Interestingly, the CoNShP-3 exhibited a typical polyvalent behavior, where not only lysis CoNS, but also other genera include Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA), Bacillus cereus and Bacillus subtilis. In addition, CoNShP-3 phage showed high stability at different temperatures and pH levels. Indeed, CoNShP-3 phage showed an antibiofilm effect against Staphylococcus epidermidis CFS79 and Staphylococcus haemolyticus CFS43, respectively, while Staphylococcus saprophyticus CFS28 biofilm was completely removed. Finally, CoNShP-3 phage demonstrated a high preservative efficacy over short and long periods of storage against inoculated CoNS in chicken breast sections. In conclusion, this study highlights the control of CoNS pathogens using a polyvalent lytic phage as a natural antibacterial and antibiofilm agent from a food safety perspective. Full article
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