Future Prospects

In the future, lactic acid bacteria may play a more significant role as protective organisms in meat products, including those currently not treated with starter cultures. The mode of action comprises several activities, among which the production of bacteriocins is already in use for inhibition of L. monocytogenes in the manufacture of dry-cured sausages (49). The effect of a weak acid production combined with nutrient competition is utilized for control of the microflora of meat products packaged in vacuum or in modified atmosphere (61). The starter culture strain for this purpose is L. alimentarius. Probiotic bacteria such as L. acidophilus, L. casei, and Bifidobacterium bifidum are marketed for meat products to improve health (62). The idea is obviously adopted from dairy products but it is questionable whether the consumers will eat dry-cured sausages in such amounts that the probiotic effect is achieved. Finally, the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) constructed by genetic engineering is another subject for the future. Legal approval may be difficult in certain regions, particularly in Europe, and consumer acceptance also remains to be obtained. It is, nonetheless, the most reliable way to develop strains contributing specific properties to the final products.

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