Natural protective agents and their applications as bio-preservatives in the food industry An overview of current and future applications

Main Article Content

Saber Amiri
Zahra Motalebi Moghanjougi
Mahmoud Rezazadeh Bari
Amin Mousavi Khaneghah


bioactive compounds; antioxidants; protective culture; Antimicrobial peptides; bacteriocin; essential oils


Today, the usage of natural additives in the food matrix has increased. Natural antimicrobial compounds include peptides, enzymes, bacteriocins, bacteriophages, plant extracts, essential oils, and fermented compounds that can be used as alternatives to chemical antimicrobials. Plant extracts and essential oils contain terpenes, flavonoids, aldehydes, and phenolic compounds that cause antimicrobial and antioxidant activity. The synergistic activity of compounds synthesized from lactic acid bacteria (LAB) prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi. In addition to removing mycotoxins, LAB compounds have antioxidant and anticancer potentials and increase food safety and nutritional value. One of these antimicrobial molecules is bacteriocin, which is made by various microorganisms. Nisin is one of these bioactive peptides that are used widely in food bio-preservation. Antimicrobial peptides can be used alone or along with other compounds to enhance food security. This article reviews natural preservatives and their applications in food products.

Abstract 379 | PDF Downloads 157 XML Downloads 8 HTML Downloads 68


Ahmad, S., Gokulakrishnan, P., Giriprasad, R. and Yatoo, M., 2015. Fruit-based natural antioxidants in meat and meat products: a review. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 55(11): 1503–1513.
Ahmad, V., Khan, M.S., Jamal, Q.M.S., Alzohairy, M.A., Al Karaawi, M.A. and Siddiqui, M.U., 2017. Antimicrobial potential of bacteriocins: in therapy, agriculture and food preservation. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents 49(1): 1–11.
Aires, A., Mota, V., Saavedra, M., Rosa, E. and Bennett, R., 2009. The antimicrobial effects of glucosinolates and their respective enzymatic hydrolysis products on bacteria isolated from the human intestinal tract. Journal of Applied Microbiology 106(6): 2086–2095.
Al-Hijazeen, M., Lee, E.J., Mendonca, A. and Ahn, D.U., 2016. Effect of oregano essential oil (Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum) on the storage stability and quality parameters of ground chicken breast meat. Antioxidants 5(2): 18. antiox5020018
Amiri, S., Aghamirzaei, M., Mostashari, P., Sarbazi, M., Tizchang, S. and Madahi, H., 2020a. The impact of biotechnology on dairy industry. In Microbial biotechnology in food and health, pp. 53–79. Elsevier. Academic Press. London, United Kingdom.
Amiri, S., Mokarram, R.R., Khiabani, M.S., Bari, M.R. and Alizadeh,  M., 2020b. Optimization of food-grade medium for co-production of bioactive substances by Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-5 for explaining pharmabiotic mechanisms of probiotic. Journal of Food Science and Technology 20: 1–12.
Amiri, S., Mokarram, R.R., Khiabani, M.S., Bari, M.R. and Khaledabad, M.A., 2019a. Exopolysaccharides production by Lactobacillus acidophilus LA5 and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB12: optimization of fermentation variables and characterization of structure and bioactivities. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules 123: 752–765.
Amiri, S., Mokarram, R.R., Khiabani, M.S., Bari, M.R. and Khaledabad, M.A., 2020c. In situ production of conjugated linoleic acid by Bifidobacterium lactis BB12 and Lactobacillus acidophilus LA5 in milk model medium. LWT 132: 109933.
Amiri, S., Rezazadeh-Bari, M., Alizadeh-Khaledabad, M. and Amiri, S., 2019b. New formulation of vitamin C encapsulation by nanoliposomes: production and evaluation of particle size, stability and control release. Food Science and Biotechnology 28(2): 423–432.
Amiri, S., Rezazadeh Bari, M., Alizadeh Khaledabad, M., Rezaei Mokarram, R. and Sowti Khiabani, M., 2021b. Fermentation optimization for co-production of postbiotics by Bifidobacterium lactis BB12 in cheese whey. Waste and Biomass Valorization 1–16.
Amiri, S., Rezazadeh Bari, M., Alizadeh Khaledabad, M., Rezaei Mokarram, R. and Sowti Khiabani, M., 2021c. Co-production of parabiotic metabolites by Lactobacillus acidophilus LA5 and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB12 in dairy effluents. Chemical Review and Letters 4(2), 66–76.
Amiri, S., Saray, F.R., Rezazad-Bari, L. and Pirsa, S., 2021a. Optimization of extraction and characterization of physico-chemical, structural, thermal, and antioxidant properties of mucilage from Hollyhock’s root: a functional heteropolysaccharide. Journal of Food Measurement and Characterization 15, 2889–2903.
Aziz, M. and Karboune, S., 2018. Natural antimicrobial/antioxidant agents in meat and poultry products as well as fruits and vege-tables: a review. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 58(3): 486–511.
Azizi, S., Bari, M.R., Almasi, H. and Amiri, S., 2021. Microencapsulation of Lactobacillus rhamnosus using sesame protein isolate: effect of encapsulation method and transglutaminase. Food Bioscience 41: 101012.
Baines, D. and Seal, R., 2012. Natural food additives, ingredients and flavourings. Elsevier. Woodhead Publishing, Philadelphia, PA, USA. Bai-Ngew, S., Chuensun, T., Wangtueai, S., Phongthai, S., Jantanasakulwong, K., Rachtanapun, P.,. and Phimolsiripol, Y., 2021. Antimicrobial activity of a crude peptide extract from lablab bean (Dolichos lablab) for semi-dried rice noodles shelf-life.  Quality Assurance and Safety of Crops & Foods,  13(2):
Banon, S., Díaz, P., Rodríguez, M., Garrido, M.D. and Price, A., 2007. Ascorbate, green tea and grape seed extracts increase the shelf life of low sulphite beef patties. Meat Science 77(4): 626– 633.
Bayarri, M., Oulahal, N., Degraeve, P. and Gharsallaoui, A., 2014. Properties of lysozyme/low methoxyl (LM) pectin complexes for antimicrobial edible food packaging. Journal of Food Engineering 131: 18–25.
Birti?, S., Dussort, P., Pierre, F.-X., Bily, A.C. and Roller, M., 2015. Carnosic acid. Phytochemistry 115: 9–19.
Brewer, M., 2011. Natural antioxidants: sources, compounds, mechanisms of action, and potential applications. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 10(4): 221–247.
Bukvi?ki, D., Stojkovi?, D., Sokovi?, M., Vannini, L., Montanari, C., Pejin, B., et al. 2014. Satureja horvatii essential oil: in vitro antimicrobial and antiradical properties and in situ control of Listeria monocytogenes in pork meat. Meat Science 96(3): 1355– 1360.
Burrowes, O., Hadjicharalambous, C., Diamond, G. and LEE,  T.C., 2004. Evaluation of antimicrobial spectrum and cytotoxic activity of pleurocidin for food applications. Journal of Food Science 69(3), FMS66–FMS71. https://doi. org/10.1111/j.13652621.2004.tb13373.x
Campos, C.A., Gerschenson, L.N. and Flores, S.K., 2011. Development of edible films and coatings with antimicrobial activity. Food and Bioprocess Technology 4(6): 849–875.
Carocho, M., Morales, P. and Ferreira, I.C., 2018. Antioxidants: reviewing the chemistry, food applications, legislation and role as preservatives. Trends in Food Science & Technology 71: 107– 120.
Carvalho, C., Costa, A.R., Silva, F. and Oliveira, A., 2017. Bacteriophages and their derivatives for the treatment and control of food-producing animal infections. Critical Reviews in Microbiology 43(5): 583–601.
Chibeu, A., Agius, L., Gao, A., Sabour, P.M., Kropinski, A.M. and Balamurugan, S., 2013. Efficacy of bacteriophage LISTEX™ P100 combined with chemical antimicrobials in reducing Listeria monocytogenes in cooked turkey and roast beef. International Journal of Food Microbiology 167(2): 208–214.
Cui, H., Yuan, L. and Lin, L., 2017. Novel chitosan film embedded with liposome-encapsulated phage for biocontrol of Escherichia coli O157: H7 in beef. Carbohydrate Polymers 177: 156–164.
Díez, L., Rojo-Bezares, B., Zarazaga, M., Rodríguez, J.M., Torres, C. and Ruiz-Larrea, F., 2012. Antimicrobial activity of pediocin PA-1 against Oenococcus oeni and other wine bacteria. Food Microbiology 31(2): 167–172.
Dussault, D., Vu, K.D. and Lacroix, M., 2014. In vitro evaluation of antimicrobial activities of various commercial essential oils, oleoresin and pure compounds against food pathogens and application in ham. Meat Science 96(1): 514–520.
Dutta, P., Tripathi, S., Mehrotra, G. and Dutta, J., 2009. Perspectives for chitosan based antimicrobial films in food applications. Food Chemistry 114(4): 1173–1182.
Elbarbary, H.A., Abdou, A.M., Nakamura, Y., Park, E.Y., Mohamed, H.A. and Sato, K., 2012. Identification of novel antibacterial pep-tides isolated from a commercially available casein hydrolysate by autofocusing technique. Biofactors 38(4): 309–315.
Embuscado, M.E., 2015. Spices and herbs: natural sources of antioxidants–a mini review. Journal of functional foods 18: 811– 819.
Favaro, L., Penna, A.L.B. and Todorov, S.D., 2015. Bacteriocinogenic LAB from cheeses–application in biopreservation? Trends in Food Science & Technology 41(1): 37–48.
Ghamari, M.A., Amiri, S., Rezazadeh-Bari, M. and Rezazad-Bari, L., 2021. Physical, mechanical, and antimicrobial properties of active edible film based on milk proteins incorporated with Nigella sativa essential oil. Polymer Bulletin 1–21.
Gholam-Zhiyan, A., Amiri, S., Rezazadeh-Bari, M. and Pirsa, S., 2021. Stability of Bacillus coagulans IBRC-M 10807 and Lactobacillus plantarum PTCC 1058 in Milk Proteins Concentrate (MPC)-Based Edible Film. Journal of Packaging Technology and Research 5: 11–22.
Gonelimali, F.D., Lin, J., Miao, W., Xuan, J., Charles, F., Chen, M., et al. 2018. Antimicrobial properties and mechanism of action of some plant extracts against food pathogens and spoilage microorganisms. Frontiers in Microbiology 9:1639.
Gyawali, R. and Ibrahim, S.A., 2014. Natural products as antimicrobial agents. Food Control 46: 412–429. foodcont.2014.05.047
Hyldgaard, M., Mygind, T. and Meyer, R.L., 2012. Essential oils in food preservation: mode of action, synergies, and interactions with food matrix components. Frontiers in Microbiology 3: 12.
Ibrahim, S.A., Salameh, M., Phetsomphou, S., Yang, H. and Seo, C., 2006. Application of caffeine, 1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine, to con-trol Escherichia coli O157: H7. Food Chemistry 99(4): 645–650.
Irkin, R. and Esmer, O.K., 2015. Novel food packaging systems with natural antimicrobial agents. Journal of Food Science and Technology 52(10): 6095–6111.
Jenssen, H. and Hancock, R.E., 2009. Antimicrobial properties of lactoferrin. Biochimie 91(1): 19–29.
Juneja, V.K., Dwivedi, H.P. and Yan, X., 2012. Novel natural food anti-microbials. Annual Review of Food Science and Technology 3: 381–403.
Khaneghah, A. M., Hashemi, S. M. B. and Limbo, S. 2018. Antimicrobial agents and packaging systems in antimicrobial active food packaging: An overview of approaches and interac-tions. Food and Bioproducts Processing, 111: 1–19.
Kim, S. and Fung, D., 2004. Antibacterial effect of crude water-soluble arrowroot (Puerariae radix) tea extracts on foodborne pathogens in liquid medium. Letters in Applied Microbiology 39(4): 319–325.
Kumar, N. and Pruthi, V., 2014. Potential applications of ferulic acid from natural sources. Biotechnology Reports 4: 86–93. https://
Lone, A., Anany, H., Hakeem, M., Aguis, L., Avdjian, A.-C., Bouget,  M., et al. 2016. Development of prototypes of bio-active packaging materials based on immobilized bacterio-phages for control of growth of bacterial pathogens in foods. International Journal of Food Microbiology 217: 49–58.
Lu, Y., Joerger, R. and Wu, C., 2014. Similar reduction of Salmonella enterica Typhimurium on grape tomatoes and its cross-contamination in wash water by washing with natural antimicrobials as compared with chlorine treatment. Food and Bioprocess Technology 7(3): 661–670. s11947-013-1105-9
Luz, C., Izzo, L., Ritieni, A., Mañes, J. and Meca, G., 2020. Antifungal and antimycotoxigenic activity of hydrolyzed goat whey on Penicillium spp: an application as biopreservation agent in pita bread. LWT 118: 108717.
Mahmud, J. and Khan, R.A., 2018. Characterization of natural antimicrobials in food system. Advances in Microbiology 8(11): 894.
Maleki, O., Khaledabad, M.A., Amiri, S., Asl, A.K. and Makouie, S., 2020. Microencapsulation of Lactobacillus rhamnosus ATCC 7469 in whey protein isolate-crystalline nanocellulose-inulin composite enhanced gastrointestinal survivability. LWT 126: 109224.
Marei, G.I.K., Rasoul, M.A.A. and Abdelgaleil, S.A., 2012. Comparative antifungal activities and biochemical effects of monoterpenes on plant pathogenic fungi. Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology 103(1): 56–61.
Martínez-García, M., Bart, J.-M., Campos-Salinas, J., Valdivia, E., Martínez-Bueno, M., González-Rey, E., et al. 2018. Autophagic-related cell death of Trypanosoma brucei induced by bacteriocin AS-48. International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance 8(2), 203–212. ijpddr.2018.03.002
Massani, M.B., Molina, V., Sanchez, M., Renaud, V., Eisenberg, P. and Vignolo, G., 2014. Active polymers containing Lactobacillus curvatus CRL705 bacteriocins: effectiveness assessment in Wieners. International Journal of Food Microbiology 178: 7–12.
Milicevic, B., Tomovi?, V., Danilovi?, B. and Savi?, D., 2021. The influence of starter cultures on the lactic acid bacteria microbi-ota of Petrovac sausage. Italian Journal of Food Science, 33(2), 24–34.
Mohajeri, N., Shotorbani, P. M., Basti, A. A., Khoshkhoo, Z. and Khanjari, A., 2021. An assessment of Cuminum cyminum (Boiss) essential oil, NaCl, bile salts and their combinations in probiotic yogurt. Italian Journal of Food Science, 33(SP1), 24–33.
Moghanjougi, Z.M., Bari, M.R., Khaledabad, M.A., Almasi, H. and Amiri, S., 2020. Bio-preservation of white brined cheese (Feta) by using probiotic bacteria immobilized in bacterial cellulose: optimization by response surface method and characterization. LWT 117: 108603.
Montiel, R., Martín-Cabrejas, I., Langa, S., El Aouad, N., Arqués, J., Reyes, F., et al. 2014. Antimicrobial activity of reuterin produced by Lactobacillus reuteri on Listeria monocytogenes in cold-smoked salmon. Food Microbiology 44: 1–5.
Oranusi, S., Braide, W. and Oguoma, O., 2013. Antifungal properties of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) isolated from Ricinus commu-nis, Pentaclethra macrophylla and Yoghurts. Global Advanced Research Journal of Food Science and Technology 2(1): 001–006.
Pisoschi, A.M., Pop, A., Georgescu, C., Turcu?, V., Olah, N.K. and Mathe, E., 2018. An overview of natural antimicrobials role in food. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 143: 922–935.
Prakash, B., Singh, P., Mishra, P.K. and Dubey, N., 2012. Safety assessment of Zanthoxylum alatum Roxb. essential oil, its anti-fungal, antiaflatoxin, antioxidant activity and efficacy as antimicrobial in preservation of Piper nigrum L. fruits. International Journal of Food Microbiology 153(1–2): 183–191.
Rai, M., Pandit, R., Gaikwad, S. and Kövics, G., 2016. Antimicrobial peptides as natural bio-preservative to enhance the shelf-life of food. Journal of Food Science and Technology 53(9): 3381–3394.
Regnault-Roger, C., Vincent, C. and Arnason, J.T., 2012. Essential oils in insect control: low-risk products in a high-stakes world. Annual Review of Entomology 57: 405–424.
Rezazadeh-Bari, M., Najafi-Darmian, Y., Alizadeh, M. and Amiri, S., 2019. Numerical optimization of probiotic Ayran production based on whey containing transglutaminase and Aloe vera gel. Journal of Food Science and Technology 56(7): 3502–3512.
Sagdic, O., Aksoy, A. and Ozkan, G. 2006. Evaluation of the antibacterial and antioxidant potentials of cranberry (gilaburu, Viburnum opulus L.) fruit extract. Acta Alimentaria 35(4): 487– 492.
Sallam, K.I., Ishioroshi, M. and Samejima, K., 2004. Antioxidant and antimicrobial effects of garlic in chicken sausage. LWT-Food Science and Technology 37(8): 849–855.
Sava?, E., Tav?anl?, H., Çatalkaya, G., Çapano?lu, E. and Tamer, C. E., 2020. The antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of garagurt: traditional Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) marmalade. Quality Assurance and Safety of Crops & Foods, 12(2), 12–23.
Shan, B., Cai, Y.-Z., Brooks, J.D. and Corke, H., 2007. Antibacterial properties and major bioactive components of cinnamon stick (Cinnamomum burmannii): activity against foodborne patho-genic bacteria. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 55(14): 5484–5490.
Silva, F. and Domingues, F.C., 2017. Antimicrobial activity of coriander oil and its effectiveness as food preservative. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 57(1): 35–47.
Sohrabpour, S., Rezazadeh Bari, M., Alizadeh, M. and Amiri, S., 2021. Investigation of the rheological, microbial, and physico-chemical properties of developed synbiotic yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-5, honey, and cinnamon extract. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation 45(4): e15323.
Tajkarimi, M., Ibrahim, S.A. and Cliver, D., 2010. Antimicrobial herb and spice compounds in food. Food Control 21(9): 1199– 1218.
Tiwari, B.K., Valdramidis, V.P., O’Donnell, C.P., Muthukumarappan,  K., Bourke, P. and Cullen, P., 2009. Application of natural antimicrobials for food preservation. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 57(14): 5987–6000.
Tongnuanchan, P. and Benjakul, S., 2014. Essential oils: extraction, bioactivities, and their uses for food preservation. Journal of Food Science 79(7): R1231–R1249.
Tumbarski, Y., Petkova, N., Todorova, M., Ivanov, I., Deseva, I., Mihaylova, D. and Ibrahim, S. A., 2020. Effects of pectin-based edible coatings containing a bacteriocin of bacillus methylotrophicus bm47 on the quality and storage life of fresh black-berries.  Italian Journal of Food Science,  32(2).
Upendra, R., Khandelwal, P., Jana, K., Ajay Kumar, N., Gayathri Devi, M. and Stephaney, M.L., 2016. Bacteriocin production from indigenous strains of lactic acid bacteria isolated from selected fermented food sources. International Journal of Pharma Research and Health Sciences 4(1): 982–990.
Varsha, K.K. and Nampoothiri, K.M., 2016. Appraisal of lactic acid bacteria as protective cultures. Food Control 69: 61–64.
Wang, S., Zeng, X., Yang, Q. and Qiao, S., 2016. Antimicrobial peptides as potential alternatives to antibiotics in food animal industry. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 17(5): 603.
Xing, Y., Xu, Q., Li, X., Che, Z. and Yun, J., 2012. Antifungal activities of clove oil against Rhizopus nigricans, Aspergillus flavus and Penicillium citrinum in vitro and in wounded fruit test. Journal of Food Safety 32(1): 84–93.