Unlike conventional preservation, PC do not readily result in a successful outcome and the antagonistic activity is a dynamic process. The interactions between the production of bacteriocin and the microorganisms will depend on several intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The variation in any factor may ultimately influence the production of bacteriocin in sitti and its activity. Table 14.3 indicates factors to regulate contamination and to ensure shelf-life and food safety in different food preparations. Some of them have contradictory effects or some have interrelated effects. The pH is the key factor, which influences the bacteriocin production; and food environment temperature influences the growth rate, biomass of bacteriocin producer and target microflora [25,46].

TABLE 14.3 Factors Affecting the Protective Cultures in Foods

The Target Microbiota

The Bacteriocin Producing Strain

The Food Matrix

Bacteriocin sensitivity

Spectrum of activity

Processing factors

Growth rate

Rate of bacteriocin production

Storage temperature

Storage temperature

Stability of bacteriocin and producing trait

Initial microbial load

The protective effects of food constituents

Minimum growth temperature of producing strain

Composition of food and buffering capacity

Initial load of microflora

Interaction with food additives/ ingredients

Interaction with food components

Microbial interactions

Adoption to the food environment

Synergistic effect between bacteriocin and metabolic end products

Survival during processing conditions

Ability to cause spoilage of product Any health benefits/hazards

Solubility and distribution of bacteriocin


The current regulations do not restrict the use of bacteriocin producing LAB in foods as these are considered food grade. The bacteriocins produced by LAB in situ need not be indicated on the product label [48]. Although numerous PC are identified, yet only few are commercialized for food applications. Selected examples of PC in the market are listed in Table 14.4.

TABLE 14.4 Protective Cultures Available in Market











Chr. Hansen

P. acidiiactici, Lb. cutvatus and Staph, xylosus.







Lb. paracasei Prop, shermani

Yeast and mold

Fermented milk products

Dairy Safe

CSK food enrichment

Lc. lactis






Lb. rhamnosus and Lb. sakei

Yeast and mold

Dairy products


Chr. Hansen

lactic acid bacteria

Yeast and mold

Yogurt, sour cream, cheese, kefir





subsp. shermanii JS and Lb. rhamnosus LC705 or Lb. paracasei SM20

Yeast and mold

Yogurt and cheese

Lyofast LPR A


Lb. rhamnosus and Lb. plantarum

Yeast and mold

Cheese and fermented milk


Chr. Hansen

Lb. cutvatus


meat, sahnon & salads

The process of production at the commercial level is like the starter cultures. The PC for commercial applications are produced as direct vat cultures. The strains are grown in batch fermenter followed by concentration and finally frozen for pellets or freeze-dried for powders, which is the most practical way of application.


The bacteriocinogenic cultures are active only against Gram-positive bacteria; therefore inhibition of Gram-positive bacteria is doubtful. The control of Gram-negative bacteria can be enhanced by exploiting the synergies between the antimicrobials and other preservation techniques. The use of PC is very encouraging in fermented products with greater application in yogurt and cheese. Bacteriocins have a narrow spectrum of activity and inhibit only closely-related bacteria. An ideal protective culture should possess broad- spectrum activity. PC is effective to inhibit Listeria nevertheless the regrowth should be considered to design full-proof biopreservation. Although number of potential PC is being identified, yet there is a huge gap between in vitro activity and in sitti success. Therefore, only a few PC are available in the market for food applications. Careful selection of LAB as protective culture and proper optimization is necessary for effectiveness in foods at low cost.


  • • antimicrobials
  • • bacteriocin
  • • Embden-Meyerhof-Rarnas
  • • food safety
  • • lactic acid bacteria
  • • protective culture


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