This review discusses the status, antimicrobial mechanisms, application, and regulation of natural preservatives in livestock food systems. Conventional preservatives are synthetic chemical substances including nitrates/nitrites, sulfites, sodium benzoate, propyl gallate, and potassium sorbate. The use of artificial preservatives is being reconsidered because of concerns relating to headache, allergies, and cancer. As the demand for biopreservation in food systems has increased, new natural antimicrobial compounds of various origins are being developed, including plant-derived products (polyphenolics, essential oils, plant antimicrobial peptides (pAMPs)), animal-derived products (lysozymes, lactoperoxidase, lactoferrin, ovotransferrin, antimicrobial peptide (AMP), chitosan and others), and microbial metabolites (nisin, natamycin, pullulan, ε-polylysine, organic acid, and others). These natural preservatives act by inhibiting microbial cell walls/membranes, DNA/RNA replication and transcription, protein synthesis, and metabolism. Natural preservatives have been recognized for their safety; however, these substances can influence color, smell, and toxicity in large amounts while being effective as a food preservative. Therefore, to evaluate the safety and toxicity of natural preservatives, various trials including combinations of other substances or different food preservation systems, and capsulation have been performed. Natamycin and nisin are currently the only natural preservatives being regulated, and other natural preservatives will have to be legally regulated before their widespread use.
Keywords: antimicrobial; food application; natural preservative; safety.