Meat and meat products have always been an important part of human diet, and contain valuable nutrients for growth and health. Nevertheless, they are perishable and susceptible to microbial contamination, leading to an increased health risk for consumers as well as to the economic loss in meat industry. The utilization of bacteriocins produced by lactic acid bacteria (LAB) as a natural preservative has received a considerable attention. Inoculation of bacteriocin-producing LAB cell as starter or protective cultures is suitable for fermented meats, whilst the direct addition of bacteriocin as food additive is more preferable when live cells of LAB could not produce bacteriocin in the real meat system. The incorporation of bacteriocins in packaging is another way to improve meat safety to avoid direct addition of bacteriocin to meat. Utilization of bacteriocins can effectively contribute to food safety, especially when integrated into hurdle concepts. In this review, LAB bacteriocins and their applications in meat and meat products are revisited. The molecular structure and characteristics of bacteriocins recently discovered, as well as exemplary properties are also discussed.
Keywords: Bacteriocins; Lactic acid bacteria; Meat products; Meats; Natural antimicrobials.
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