Recent advances in the application of the antimicrobial peptide nisin in the inactivation of spore-forming bacteria in foods

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Conventional thermal and chemical treatments used in food preservation have come under scrutiny by consumers who demand minimally processed foods free from chemical agents but microbiologically safe. As a result, antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) such as bacteriocins and nisin that are ribosomally synthesised by bacteria, more prominently by the lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have appeared as a potent alternative due to their multiple biological activities and represent a powerful strategy to prevent the development of spore-forming microorganisms. Unlike thermal methods, they are natural without an adverse impact on food organoleptic and nutritional attributes. AMPs such as nisin and bacteriocins are generally effective in eliminating spore-forming bacteria compared to the more resilient spore forms. However, in combination with other non-thermal treatments, such as high pressure, supercritical carbon dioxide, electric pulses, AMPs such as nisin has proven that the synergistic effect is effective in the inactivation of microbial spores through the disruption of the spore structure and prevention of spore outgrowth. The control of microbial spores in foods is essential in maintaining food safety and extension of shelf-life. Thus, exploration of the mechanisms of action of AMPs such as nisin is critical in their design and effective application in food industry. This review harmonises mechanisms of inactivation based information from published literature on utilising AMPs in the control of microbial spores in food. It highlights future perspectives in research and application in food processing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5552
Number of pages13
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2021


  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Bacteriocin
  • Food processing
  • Food safety
  • Spores

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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