Macromolecular acidic coating increases shelf life by inhibition of bacterial growth
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of food microbiology. 2018, 285 136-143. 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2018.08.001
The sensitivity of microorganisms to low pH can be utilized in food protection by preparing coatings based on macromolecular acids. Due to limited diffusivity of macromolecules low pH occurs primarily at the surface, while the interior parts of the food remain unaffected. This principle is demonstrated using food approved alginic acid in various types of coatings (aqueous, emulsions, dispersions, dry coating) on a wide range of foods including meat, fish, chicken, shrimp and boiled rice. Significant delay or inhibition of the natural flora is generally demonstrated, particularly when exposed to ‘temperature abuse’. Specifically, we show that the coatings reduce or inhibit regrowth of pathogens (Bacillus cereus, B. weihenstephanensis, Listeria monocytogenes serotype 1 and Staphylococcus aureus). In special cases like boiled rice, alginic acid may largely replace acetic acid for acidification and preservation, as demonstrated studying regrowth of added spores of B. cereus. Most formulations allow easy removal prior to further processing (cooking, frying). Temporary side effects such as ‘acid cooking’ obtained for high acid concentrations on sensitive surfaces (e.g. salmon) disappear during processing, recovering the normal taste and texture. The coating is hence suitable for a large variety of foods.