Lactoferrin (LF)

Lactoferrin is an iron-binding glycoprotein and is a promising natural antimicrobial that has been recently approved by EU as a novel food ingredient (EU, 2012). The high iron-chelating capacity is the functional basis for most of its broad-spectrum antimicrobial effect, since iron is critical for growth of many bacterial species (Aguila, 2001). A major point of strength of LF as a natural preservative in dairy products appears to be the compatibility with lactic acid bacteria, which have a low request of iron (Bruyneel et al., 1989; Imbert and Blondeau, 1998). The ability of bovine lactoferrin to control pathogenic microrganisms is known since 1977, but recent reports have also demonstrated antimicrobial effects of peptides released by pepsin digestion such as lactoferricin and lactoferrampin (Quintieri et al., 2012; Ripolles et al., 2015). The main concerns that still limit application at the dairy level are: high cost, possible negative impact on the color of the products (lactoferrin is also called “the red protein”) and insufficient in vivo studies (Inay et al., 2012).

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