• Bacteriocins: Novel Solutions to Age Old Spore-Related Problems?

      Egan, Kevin; Field, Des; Rea, Mary; Ross, R Paul; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Science Foundation Ireland; DAFM 13/F/462; TIDA 14/TIDA/2286; et al. (Frontiers Media S. A., 08/04/2016)
      Bacteriocins are ribosomally synthesized antimicrobial peptides produced by bacteria, which have the ability to kill or inhibit other bacteria. Many bacteriocins are produced by food grade lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Indeed, the prototypic bacteriocin, nisin, is produced by Lactococcus lactis, and is licensed in over 50 countries. With consumers becoming more concerned about the levels of chemical preservatives present in food, bacteriocins offer an alternative, more natural approach, while ensuring both food safety and product shelf life. Bacteriocins also show additive/synergistic effects when used in combination with other treatments, such as heating, high pressure, organic compounds, and as part of food packaging. These features are particularly attractive from the perspective of controlling sporeforming bacteria. Bacterial spores are common contaminants of food products, and their outgrowth may cause food spoilage or food-borne illness. They are of particular concern to the food industry due to their thermal and chemical resistance in their dormant state. However, when spores germinate they lose the majority of their resistance traits, making them susceptible to a variety of food processing treatments. Bacteriocins represent one potential treatment as they may inhibit spores in the post-germination/outgrowth phase of the spore cycle. Spore eradication and control in food is critical, as they are able to spoil and in certain cases compromise the safety of food by producing dangerous toxins. Thus, understanding the mechanisms by which bacteriocins exert their sporostatic/sporicidal activity against bacterial spores will ultimately facilitate their optimal use in food. This review will focus on the use of bacteriocins alone, or in combination with other innovative processing methods to control spores in food, the current knowledge and gaps therein with regard to bacteriocin-spore interactions and discuss future research approaches to enable spores to be more effectively targeted by bacteriocins in food settings.