Improvement of the quality, naturnalness and shelf-life of food products by the use of selected bacteriocins from lactic acid bacteria.

Project Details


Bacteriocins are antimicrobial proteins, protein aggregates or protein complexces produced by several bacteria -especially lactic acid bacteria - with antagonistic activities against other, more or less closely related, bacterial strains.Knowledge of bacteriocins from lactic acid bacteria has expanded dramatically over the past five years. However, theirpossible industrial exploitation has not been extensively studied. Bacteriocins produced by lactic acid bacteria,agriculturally and industrially important food-grade microorganisms, could be utilised for improving the quality ofseveral food and feed products. This would be achieved by maintaining and enhencement of quality and nutritionalvalue, by increasing freshness and shelf-Life, by protection against pathogens, by replacing undesirable preservativessuch as nitrate, nitrite and sulfite, and by possible other means. Nisin is currently the only bacteriocin with some,although limited, industrial applications. Many more bacteriocins produced by lactic acid bacteria have been describedand partly characterised recently. Especially their genetical organisation and mode of action have been studied. Thesebacteriocins vary in biological activity from action against a few related strains only to action agunst a wide variety ofbacteria. The extent of bacteriocin application, however, has not kept up with these scientific developments. With theanalytical isolation and purification techniques available, applied studies have become more feaslble. The proposedCopernicus-project focusses on the application in food and feed products of some of these bacteriocins. It involvestransnational collaboration between six research laboratories from four different countries. In order to ensure that theaims of the study can be achieved, the project has been divided into several essential tasks to be carried out. Additionalcharacterisation of the available bacteriocins will focus on their physicochemical properties reflecting specific foodenvironmental conditions in view of their application in different food and feed products. Furthermore, fermentationmethods, isolation procedures and purification schemes will be developed for low-cost production and isolation ofbacteriocins making the use of bacteriocins also economically feasible. In the case of certain fermented food products,the bacteriocin producing strains will be incorporated in the starter cultures used avoiding the separate addition ofbacteriocin to the product. Such mixed culture fermentations have to be studied in detail. Finally, selected bacteriocinswill be applied on laboratory scale in the production of some dairy and meat products. The joint efforts of the differentparticipants must enable the realisation of this research program and will lead to qualitv and safety improvement of a variey of food and feed products
Effective start/end date1/01/9731/12/98

Flemish discipline codes

  • Mechanical and manufacturing engineering


  • microbiology