Biogenic amines in fermented foods

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Nov;64 Suppl 3:S95-100. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2010.218.


Food-fermenting lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are generally considered to be non-toxic and non-pathogenic. Some species of LAB, however, can produce biogenic amines (BAs). BAs are organic, basic, nitrogenous compounds, mainly formed through decarboxylation of amino acids. BAs are present in a wide range of foods, including dairy products, and can occasionally accumulate in high concentrations. The consumption of food containing large amounts of these amines can have toxicological consequences. Although there is no specific legislation regarding BA content in many fermented products, it is generally assumed that they should not be allowed to accumulate. The ability of microorganisms to decarboxylate amino acids is highly variable, often being strain specific, and therefore the detection of bacteria possessing amino acid decarboxylase activity is important to estimate the likelihood that foods contain BA and to prevent their accumulation in food products. Moreover, improved knowledge of the factors involved in the synthesis and accumulation of BA should lead to a reduction in their incidence in foods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biogenic Amines / toxicity*
  • Dairy Products / analysis
  • Dairy Products / microbiology
  • Decarboxylation
  • Fermentation*
  • Food Contamination
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Lactobacillaceae / metabolism*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Wine / analysis
  • Wine / microbiology


  • Biogenic Amines