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Food Microbiology
Vol. 47, 2015; Pages: 74–84

Lactic acid bacteria and natural antimicrobials to improve the safety and shelf-life of minimally processed sliced apples and lamb's lettuce

Lorenzo Siroli, Francesca Patrignani, Diana I. Serrazanetti, Giulia Tabanelli, Chiara Montanari, Fausto Gardini, Rosalba Lanciotti

Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Campus of Food Science, Piazza Goidanich 60, 47521 Cesena, Italy.


Outbreaks of food-borne disease associated with the consumption of fresh and minimally processed fruits and vegetables have increased dramatically over the last few years. Traditional chemical sanitizers are unable to completely eradicate or kill the microorganisms on fresh produce. These conditions have stimulated research to alternative methods for increasing food safety. The use of protective cultures, particularly lactic acid bacteria (LAB), has been proposed for minimally processed products. However, the application of bioprotective cultures has been limited at the industrial level. From this perspective, the main aims of this study were to select LAB from minimally processed fruits and vegetables to be used as biocontrol agents and then to evaluate the effects of the selected strains, alone or in combination with natural antimicrobials (2-(E)-hexenal/hexanal, 2-(E)-hexenal/citral for apples and thyme for lamb's lettuce), on the shelf-life and safety characteristics of minimally processed apples and lamb's lettuce. The results indicated that applying the Lactobacillus plantarum strains CIT3 and V7B3 to apples and lettuce, respectively, increased both the safety and shelf-life. Moreover, combining the selected strains with natural antimicrobials produced a further increase in the shelf-life of these products without detrimental effects on the organoleptic qualities.

Keywords: Minimally processed products; Biocontrol agents; Natural antimicrobials; Lactic acid bacteria; Safety and shelf-life.

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