Published in Applied Research
Exploiting synergies of sourdough and antifungal organic acids to delay fungal spoilage of bread

Fungal spoilage of bread remains an unsolved issue in bread making. Canadian Researchers have published in International Journal of Food Microbiology a work where they identified alternative strategies to conventional preservatives in order to prevent or delay fungal spoilage of bread. The results 

The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of bacterial metabolites and chemical preservatives was evaluated in vitro, and compared to their in situ activity in baking trials. Calcium propionate, sorbic acid, 3-phenyllactic acid, ricinoleic acid, and acetic acid were tested both individually and in combination at their MIC values against Aspergillus niger and Penicillium roqueforti. The combination of acetic acid with propionate and sorbate displayed additive effects against the two fungi. For these reasons, we introduced sourdough fermentation with specific strains of lactobacilli, using wheat or flaxseed, in order to generate acetate in bread. A combination of Lactobacillus hammesii and propionate reduced propionate concentration required for shelf life extension of wheat bread 7-fold. Flaxseed sourdough bread fermented with L. hammesii, excluding any preservative, showed a shelf life 2days longer than the control bread. The organic acid quantification indicated a higher production of acetic acid (33.8+/-4.4mM) when compared to other sourdough breads. Addition of 4% of sucrose to sourdough fermentation with L. brevis increased the mould free shelf-life of bread challenged with A. niger by 6days. The combination of L. hammesii sourdough and the addition of ricinoleic acid (0.15% or 0.08%) prolonged the mould free shelf-life by 7-8days for breads produced with wheat sourdoughs. In conclusion, the in vitro MIC of bacterial metabolites and preservatives matched the in situ antifungal effect. Of the different bacterial metabolites evaluated, acetic acid had the most prominent and consistent antifungal activity. The use of sourdough fermentation with selected strains able to produce acetic acid allowed reducing the use of chemical preservatives.

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