Diacetyl is a metabolic end product produced by some species of LAB. It is best known for the buttery aroma that it imparts to cultured dairy products. Its antimicrobial action has been investigated by Jay who reported that a concentration of 200 ppm was inhibitory to yeast and 300 ppm was inhibitory to molds (Jay 1992). Acidity of the growth medium was shown to have a direct effect on the antimicrobial activity of diacetyl. The compound was clearly more effective as an antifungal agent below 7.0 than above this value. Reasons for pH associated antifungal activity is not clear.
Since, effective concentration of diacetyl imparts a sharp odor of butter, potential for use in foods as an antifungal agent is limited. However, its use as a utensil sanitizer and in wash or rinse water for certain products is feasible.
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