A wide variety of raw foods are preserved by lactic acid fermentation, including milk, meat, fruits, and vegetables. Reduction of pH and removal of large amount of carbohydrates by fermentation are the primary preservation actions that lactic acid bacteria (LAB) provide to a fermented food. These actions are largely ineffective in preventing the growth of fungi in foods. However, it has also been recognized that LAB can produce inhibitory substances other than organic acid (acetate and acetate) that are antagonistic toward other microorganisms (Batish et al. 1997). The antibacterial properties of LAB are well documented. Several LAB, typically of the genera Lactococcus and Lactobacillus produce antibacterial substances. Antifungal properties of LAB have received little attention, however, several metabolites of LAB have been reported to have antifungal activity.
Batish et al. (1989) screened different lactic starter cultures for their antifungal activity with the goal of commercially exploiting their antifungal potentials. They found several strains of Streptococcus that inhibited a wide variety of molds. While the antifungal substances produced by the LAB were not identified of characterized, maximum production occurred at 30°C and pH 6.8. Several specific LAB metabolites have been reported to have antifungal activity.
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