Invited Speaker Australian Society for Microbiology Annual Scientific Meeting 2018

Harnessing Environmental Biocontrol Lactic Acid Bacteria For Food Safety and Quality (#107)

Mark S Turner 1
  1. University Of Queensland, BRISBANE, QLD, Australia

With many food poisoning outbreaks occurring and an estimated one-quarter of all food produced being wasted, food safety issues and food spoilage present major challenges both in Australia and internationally.  The consumer-driven push away from chemical preservatives and towards minimal processing of foods will further strain these issues.  Biocontrol strategies present one alternative preservation method which involves the use of biological-based agents such as harmless bacteria or bacteriophages to inhibit/kill undesirable microbes. In this work a large collection (n=897) of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) isolates from fresh produce (vegetables and fruits) was obtained and screened for growth inhibitory activity against two foodborne pathogens (Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes) and a food spoilage mould (Penicillium commune) to identify potential biocontrol isolates. Several inhibitory isolates were obtained and demonstrated to inhibit the pathogens in cut lettuce or mould in cheese. These LAB were identified as members of the ‘generally recognized as safe’ Leuconostoc, Lactococcus, Carnobacterium, Weissella and Lactobacillus genera commonly consumed in high numbers from various fermented foods.  These isolates could be applied as protective additives directly on fresh vegetables and fruits post-harvest or in cheese fermentations to improve food safety and quality.