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Antimicrobials with different solubility control Listeria in meat matrices.

Concerns about food safety are growing, and a lack of new preventative measures to control foodborne illnesses is impacting local and national economies.

In a series of experiments, German scientists investigated the antimicrobial efficacy of antimicrobials with different solubility: hydrophilic, lipophilic and amphiphilic. To combat Listeria, the antimicrobials--lactate, methyl-paraben and lauric arginate--were added individually, or in binary or ternary combinations, to emulsion-type sausages.

The working hypothesis was that loading all phases--water, fat, and interface--would reduce the risk of bacterial growth after recontamination with Listeria. The combination of antimicrobials with different solubility would facilitate the protecting effects of food ingredients on microorganisms, essentially helping to lower any antimicrobial activity.

The researchers evaluated antimicrobial efficacy against Listeria innocua on the surface of the sliced sausages over 24 days of storage at 6 C. Samples were taken and enumerated at regular intervals. Results showed that the maximum added concentration of lauric arginate delayed bacterial growth for one day. For lactate and methyl-paraben, a growth delay of 18 and seven days, respectively, was observed.

For the three different binary combinations, the results indicate that antimicrobial efficacy could be enhanced. Moreover, the mixing ratio has an influence on the antimicrobial efficacy of the combinations.

For ternary combinations, a variety of two antimicrobials were kept constant: lauric arginate-methyl-paraben; lauric arginate-lactate; and lactate-methyl-paraben. The third preservative--lactate, methyl-paraben, and lauric arginate, respectively--was combined with increasing concentrations. With the addition of a third antimicrobial at low doses, growth delay was reduced until higher concentrations were added.

Nevertheless, the results suggest that combining antimicrobials with different solubility has potential for enhancing antimicrobial efficacy against Listeria in meat emulsions.

Further information. Jochen Weiss, Vice Rector for Research, Food Physics and Meat Science, University of Hohenheim, Garbenstrasse 25, Institute Building, Room 021, Schloss Hohenheim 1, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany; phone: +49 711 459 24415; fax: +49 711 459 24446; email:

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Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Date:Apr 1, 2016
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