Food spoilage is a major issue for the food industry, leading to food waste, substantial economic losses for manufacturers and consumers, and a negative impact on brand names. Among causes, fungal contamination can be encountered at various stages of the food chain (e.g., post-harvest, during processing or storage). Fungal development leads to food sensory defects varying from visual deterioration to noticeable odor, flavor, or texture changes but can also have negative health impacts via mycotoxin production by some molds. In order to avoid microbial spoilage and thus extend product shelf life, different treatments-including fungicides and chemical preservatives-are used. In parallel, public authorities encourage the food industry to limit the use of these chemical compounds and develop natural methods for food preservation. This is accompanied by a strong societal demand for 'clean label' food products, as consumers are looking for more natural, less severely processed and safer products. In this context, microbial agents corresponding to bioprotective cultures, fermentates, culture-free supernatant or purified molecules, exhibiting antifungal activities represent a growing interest as an alternative to chemical preservation. This review presents the main fungal spoilers encountered in food products, the antifungal microorganisms tested for food bioprotection, and their mechanisms of action. A focus is made in particular on the recent in situ studies and the constraints associated with the use of antifungal microbial agents for food biopreservation.
Keywords: Bacillus; antifungal; biocontrol; bioprotection; fermentates; food; fungi; lactic acid bacteria; molecules; post-harvest; propionibacteria.