Susceptibility of food-contaminating Penicillium genus fungi to some preservatives and disinfectants
More details
Hide details
Institute of Botany, Nature Research Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
Corresponding author
Loreta Levinskaite   

Institute of Botany, Nature Research Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2012;19(1):85-89
Microscopic fungi are able to contaminate and deteriorate various food products and can subsequently cause health problems. Long usage of the same preservatives and disinfectants against spoilage fungi may lead to the development of fungal resistance to those chemicals. The objective of this study was to investigate the susceptibility of 3 Penicillium genus fungi, isolated from foodstuffs, to organic acid preservatives and some disinfectants, taking into consideration 2 aspects of their development: spore germination and mycelial growth. Susceptibility of Penicillium spinulosum, P. expansum and P. verruculosum to the preservatives, namely benzoic acid, sodium lactate, potassium sorbate, as well as disinfectants such as Topax DD, Suma Bac D10, Biowash and F210 Hygisept, was investigated. The biocides were used at concentrations of 0.1, 1.0 and 10%. Of the preservatives, benzoic acid and potassium sorbate showed the best inhibition, both on spore germination and mycelial growth. Benzoic acid at a concentration of a 0.1% reduced spore germination by 33-55%, and mycelial growth by 54-97%, whereas at 1% the inhibition was 74-85% and 97-100%, respectively. The effect of the disinfectants at a concentration of 0.1% on spore germination was 25-84% and on colonial growth 68-97%, while at 1.0% the reduction in spore germination reached 53-91% and the inhibition of growth 89-100%. In most cases, the same concentrations added to the media showed higher inhibitory effect on mycelial growth than on spore germination. It was noticed that the fungi responded rather unevenly towards the biocides, showing individual susceptibility.
Jay JM. Modern Food Microbiology. New York, Chapman and Hall, 1996.
Marin S, Abellana M, Rubinat M, Sanchis V, Ramos AJ. Efficacy of sorbates on the control of the growth of Eurotium species in bakery products with near neutral pH. Int J Food Microbiol. 2003; 87(3): 251-258.
Lugauskas A, Paškevičius A, Repečkienė J. Patogeniški ir toksiški mikroorganizmai žmogaus aplinkoje [Pathogenic and toxic microorganisms in human environment]. Vilnius Lithuania 2002. p.44-294. Lithuanian.
Sperber WH, Doyle MP. Compendium of the Microbiological Spoilage of Food and Beverages. New York, Springer 2009. p.228.
Kašková A, Ondrašovičová O, Vargová M, Ondrašovič M, Venglovský J. Application of Peracetic acid and Quaternary Ammonium disinfectants as a part of sanitary treatment in a poultry house and poultry processing plant. Zoonoses and Public Health. 2007; 54(3): 125-130.
Holah JT, Taylor JH, Dawson DJ, Hall KE. Biocide use in food industry and the disinfectant resistance of persistent strains of Listeria monocytagenes and Escherichia coli. J Appl Microbiol. 2002; 92(Suppl s1): 110S-120S.
Bore E, Langsrud S. Characterization of micro-organisms isolated from dairy industry after cleaning and fogging disinfection with alkyl amine and peracetic acid. J Appl Microbiol. 2005; 98(1): 96-105.
Russell N, Gould GW. Food preservatives. New York, USA: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 2003. p.74-75.
Pitt JI, Hocking AD. Fungi and Food spoilage. New York, Springer 2009. p.7-9.
Samapundo S, Deschuyffeleer N , Van Laere D, De Leyn I, Devlieghere F. Effect of NaCl reduction and replacement on the growth of fungi important to the spoilage of bread. Food Microbiol. 2010; 27(6): 749-56.
Huang Y, Wilson M, Chapman B, Hocking AD. Evaluation of the efficacy of four weak acids as antifungal preservatives in low-acid intermediate moisture model food systems. Food Microbiol. 2010; 27(1): 33-36.
Suhr KI, Nielsen PV. Effect of weak acid preservatives on growth of bakery product spoilage fungi at different water activities and pH values. Int J Food Microbiol. 2004; 95(1): 67-78.
Brul S, Coote P. Preservative agents in foods. Mode of action and microbial resistance mechanisms. Int J Food Microbiol 1999; 50: 1-17.
Piper PW. Resistance of yeasts to weak organic acid food preservatives. Adv Appl Microbiol. 2011; 77: 97-113.
Brown MRW, Williams P. Influence of substrate limitation and growth phase on sensitivity to antimicrobial agents. J Antimicrob Chemoth. 1985; 15(Suppl A): 7-14.
Langsrud S, Sundheim G. Factors influencing a suspension test method for antimicrobial activity of disinfectants. J Appl Microbiol. 1998; 85(6): 1006-1012.
McDonnell G, Russell D. Antiseptics and Disinfectants: Activity, Action, and Resistance. Clin Microbiol Rev. 1999; 12(1): 147-179.
Evans DJ, Allison DG, Brown MRW, Gilbert P. Effect of growth rate on resistance of Gram-negative biofilms to cetrimide. J Antimicrob Chemoth. 1990; 26(4): 473-478.
Staniszewska M, Jakimiak B, Röhm-Rodowald E, Bocian E. Kurzqtkowski E, Tyski S. Antifungal agents: susceptibility of different fungal strains to various disinfecting agents. Mikologia Lekarska. 2009; 16(4): 210-214.
Tortorano AM, Viviani MA, Biraghi E, Rigoni AL, Prigitano A, Grillot R, et al. In vitro testing of fungicidal activity of biocides against Aspergillus fumigatus. J Med Microbiol. 2005; 54: 955-957.
Pundir RK, Jain P. Screening for antifungal activity of commercially available chemical food preservatives. IJPSRR 2010; 5(2): 25-27.
El-Mougy NS, El-Gamal NG, Abd-El-Kareem F. Use of organic acids and salts to control postharvest diseases of lemon fruits in Egypt. Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection. 2008; 41(7): 467-476.
Knicky M, Spörndly R. The ensiling capability of a mixture of sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, and sodium nitrite. J Dairy Sci. 2011; 94(2): 824-831.
Russell AD. Similarities and differences in the response of microorganisms to biocides. J Antimicrob Chemoth. 2003; 52(5): 750-763.
Sergeeva YE, Galanina LA, Kochkina GA, Feofilova EP. The effect of the preservative sorbic acid on the lipid composition of the Ascomycete fungus Penicillium roquefortii Thom. Microbiology. 2009; 78(5): 630-635.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top