1420 Molecular Biology Bldg.
Byron Brehm-Stecher, Associate Professor of Food Science & Human Nutrition.
ABSTRACT: News of food recalls and foodborne disease outbreaks are an almost daily occurrence, and although food spoilage is not as sensational a topic as food safety, it is still a billion-dollar problem. Traditionally, chemical antimicrobials, preservatives and sanitizers have been used in foods and on food contact surfaces to help keep pathogenic and spoilage microbes in check. However, rising consumer demand for effective, yet natural antimicrobials is driving industry towards “greener”, more natural solutions. Although many bio-derived antimicrobials are effective in their host systems or in microbiological growth media, their use in foods presents unique challenges. A key problem is their lower efficacy in foods. Simply adding more is not a solution, as their unique flavor, aroma or color profiles may lead to organoleptically unacceptable results at higher usage levels. Alternatively, methods for enhancing the efficacy of natural antimicrobials may enable development of preservative systems capable of suppressing unwanted microbial growth while maintaining the sensory attributes of the foods in which they are used. In this talk, I will cover some of the recent work in my lab dealing with natural and value-added antimicrobials for use as direct additives to foods or for control of microbes on food processing surfaces. Topics will include evaluation of grape seed extract for killing Listeria monocytogenes on produce, methods for enhancing the activity of peanut skin extract against spoilage yeasts in apple juice and antimicrobial evaluation of cationic polymer coatings derived from vegetable oils.