ABSTRACT: In this study 635 lactic acid bacteria of food origin were evaluated for their potential application as protective cultures in foods. A stepwise selection method was used to obtain the most appropriate strains for application as protective cultures in chicken meat. Specifically, all strains were examined for antimicrobial activity against various Gram positive and Gram negative pathogenic and spoilage bacteria. Strains exhibiting anti-bacterial activity were subsequently examined for survival in simulated food processing and gastrointestinal tract conditions, such as high temperatures, low pH, starvation and the presence of NaCl and bile salts. Selected strains where then examined for basic safety properties such as antibiotic resistance and haemolytic potential, while their antimicrobial activity was further investigated by PCR screening for possession of known bacteriocin genes. Two chosen strains were then applied on raw chicken meat to evaluate their protective ability against two common food pathogens, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enteritidis, but also to identify potential spoilage effects by the application of the protective cultures on the food matrix. Antimicrobial activity in vitro was evident against Gram positive indicators, mainly Listeria and Brochothrix spp., while no antibacterial activity was obtained against any of the Gram negative bacteria tested. The antimicrobial activity was of a proteinaceous nature while strains with anti-listerial activity were found to possess one or more bacteriocin genes, mainly enterocins. Strains generally exhibited sensitivity to pH 2.0, but good survival at 45 degrees C, in the presence of bile salts and NaCl as well as during starvation, while variable survival rates were obtained at 55 degrees C. None of the strains was found to be haemolytic while variable antibiotic resistance profiles were obtained. Finally, when the selected strains Enterococcus faecium PCD71 and Lactobacillus fermentum ACA-DC179 were applied as protective cultures in chicken meat against L. monocytogenes and S. enteritidis respectively, a significantly reduced growth of these pathogenic bacteria was observed. In addition, these two strains did not appear to have any detrimental effect on biochemical parameters related to spoilage of the chicken meat.
International journal of food microbiology 03/2009; 130(3):219-26. · 3.01 Impact Factor