“Green Preservatives”- Lactic Acid Bacteria Protect Food and Feed from Fungal Toxins – Article by Agata Pawlowska et al.
Molds (fungi, yeast) produce a wide variety of toxins- called mycotoxins, which have a wide range of toxic effects including increased risk of cancer and birth defects, and damage to the kidneys, lungs, liver, and nervous and immune systems.
Significant mold spoilage and mycotoxin production is estimated to affect about 25% of the worlds food supply. Mold spoilage is most common on peanuts and grains such as corn and wheat, however mold spoilage can occur on virtually any food including fruits, vegetables, milk products, meat and fish. Mold spoilage of food with toxic mycotoxins is so common that some researchers estimate that food mycotoxins are the biggest dietary health toxic risk factor, more significant than pesticide residues, artificial preservatives and colors, and natural plant toxins/allergens.
To avoid growth of molds and mycotoxins, proper storage of food and eating food as fresh as possible is vital. Preservatives can also be useful in preventing mold growth. However, many relatively non-toxic preservatives like propionic acid and acetic acid (vinegar) are not effective for many molds.
One approach to preventing mold growth is to treat food with lactic acid producing bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus and other Lactobacillus. Lactobacillus has been used to thousands of year in milk products such as yogurt to prevent growth of molds and harmful bacteria. Numerous human studies have reported that eating yogurt containing Lactobacillus can significantly reduce risk of many intestinal infections and yeast (Candida) vaginosis. In recent years, lactic acid bacteria has been successfully used to reduce risk of mold growth on breads, stored grains and animal feeds. Research is also underway to use lactic acid bacteria to preserve apples and processed vegetable products like tomato paste.