Microbial spoilage of bread and the consequent waste problem causes large economic losses for both the bakery industry and the consumer. Furthermore the presence of mycotoxins due to fungal contamination in cereals and cereal products remains a significant issue. The use of conventional chemical preservatives has several drawbacks, necessitating the development of clean-label alternatives. In this review, we describe current research aiming to extend the shelf life of bread through the use of more consumer friendly and ecologically sustainable preservation techniques as alternatives to chemical additives. Studies on the in situ-production/-expression of antifungal compounds are presented, with special attention given to recent developments over the past decade. Sourdough fermented with antifungal strains of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) is an area of increasing focus and serves as a high-potential biological ingredient to produce gluten-containing and gluten-free breads with improved nutritional value, quality and safety due to shelf-life extension, and is in-line with consumer's demands for more products containing less additives. Other alternative biopreservation techniques include the utilization of antifungal peptides, ethanol and plant extracts. These can be added to bread formulations or incorporated in antimicrobial films for active packaging (AP) of bread. This review outlines recent progress that has been made in the area of bread biopreservation and future perspectives in this important area.
Keywords: Bakery products; active packaging; antifungal activity; food safety; lactic acid bacteria; mycotoxins; plant extracts; preservation.