Natural Food Antimicrobials: Recent Trends in Their Use, Limitations, and Opportunities for Their Applications in Food Preservation
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© 2018 American Chemical Society. The usage of natural antimicrobials for preserving of food quality and safety has been practiced since ancient times, though in recent decades the practice has enjoyed renewed interest by food processors and food preservation specialists. Natural antimicrobials are highly varied in their sources, their mechanism(s) of antimicrobial activity, and their impacts on foodborne microorganisms. Recent research has identified and characterized novel polypeptide bacteriocins derived from gram positive and gram negative bacteria alike, as well as a multitude of plant-derived essential oil components from plants indigenous to differing regions around the globe. In the U.S., multiple bacteriophage-based antimicrobial technologies have been developed and gained federal approval for application to different food products, heralding a new era in biopreservation of foods. Natural antimicrobials have been applied into foods following encapsulation within differing types of nano-encapsulation systems, including micelles, liposomes, polymer capsules, and even applied onto foods added into edible antimicrobial films and coatings. There are multiple drivers of this renewed interest in natural antimicrobial research and application, including the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and its implementing rules on food safety preventive controls for human foods, and produce safety. Additionally, the growing demand for organic, natural, and clean-label foods has encouraged researchers and food processors to explore opportunities for natural antimicrobials to protect the safety and quality of foods.
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