MadSci Network: Microbiology

Re: What is Nisin and what does it do in terms of food preservation

Date: Tue May 8 09:18:38 2001
Posted By: Edward Richter, Faculty, Food Microbiology, The Ohio State University
Area of science: Microbiology
ID: 986434400.Mi


Nisaplin® brand nisin is a natural antimicrobial agent used worldwide 
since 1953 to control bacterial spoilage in both heat-processed and low-pH 
foods. Nisin, the active ingredient in Nisaplin®, is effective against a 
wide range of Gram-positive bacteria, both as vegetative cells and as 
spores. It is a small peptide produced by Lactococcus lactis, a bacterium 
which occurs naturally in milk. 
Typical Composition
Nisaplin® is standardised to reliably deliver a specific concentration of 
nisin; the typical composition is: 
 Nisin - 2.5% 
 Sodium Chloride - 77.5% 
 Protein - 12% 
 Carbohydrate - 6% 
 Moisture - 2%
Nisin is a polypeptide and is most stable in acid conditions. Nisin is 
soluble in aqueous environments. 
Some loss of activity is expected when nisin is used in heat-processed 
foods. Compensation factors are built in to treatment levels recommended 
by our Technical Services Department. 
Food Specifications
Nisaplin® conforms to all major international specifications, including 
the FAO/WHO specification for nisin concentrate, and the FDA specification 
for nisin preparations. At normal levels of use, it does not affect the 
colour, odour or flavour of the finished product. 
Manufacturing Process
Nisaplin® is manufactured by controlled fermentation of Lactococcus lactis 
in a milk-based medium. The nisin produced is concentrated, separated and 
spray-dried before milling into fine particles and standardised by the 
addition of sodium chloride. Our ISO 9001 accreditation requires our 
manufacturing process to conform to strict hygienic conditions and all 
ingredients conform to food grade specifications. 
Activity Levels
The nisin activity of Nisaplin® and its concentration in foods is 
determined by microbiological assay. Analytical assistance is available 
from Aplin & Barrett's Technical Services Department and, if needed, 
samples can be sent to them for evaluation. 
Packaging and Storage
Nisaplin® can be stored at ambient temperature. It is stable for 2 years 
from the date of manufacture when stored in the original containers in dry 
conditions, away from direct sunlight and at 4o to 25oC. Nisaplin®, an off-
white powder, is supplied in 1 kilogram polyethylene bottles. 
Quality and Safety
Our ISO 9001 accreditation requires our manufacturing process to conform 
to strict, hygienic conditions. All ingredients conform to food grade 
Food Additive Legislation
Nisin is an approved additive in most major food producing countries. It 
is designated as a GRAS substance in the USA and has specific approval in, 
among others, EU, Australasia and Mercosur. Please contact us for further 
Nisaplin® Labelling
The European Union has assigned to nisin the number E234. Elsewhere it may 
be included on the product label as 'nisin preservative', 'permitted 
preservative' or 'natural preservative', depending on local regulations. 
Bacterial Sensitivity to Nisaplin®
Nisaplin® can control a range of bacteria from the following species: 
ALICYCLOBACILLUS SPP	Gram-positive, aerobic, spore-forming
BACILLUS SPP	Gram-positive, aerobic and facultative anaerobic, spore-
CLOSTRIDIUM SPP	Gram-positive, obligate anaerobic, spore-forming
DESULFOTOMACULUM SPP	Gram-variable, obligate anaerobic spore-forming
ENTEROCOCCUS SPP	Gram-positive, aerobic or anaerobic, non-spore-
LACTOBACILLUS SPP	Gram-positive, aerobic or anaerobic, non-spore-
forming. capable of growth at low pH. Many associated with production of 
dairy products
LEUCONOSTOC SPP	Aerobic and anaerobic, non-spore-forming.
LISTERIA SPP	Gram-positive, aerobic and anaerobic, non-spore-forming.
MICROCOCCUS SPP	Gram-positive aerobic, non-spore-forming.
PEDIOCOCCUS SPP	Gram-positive, aerobic and anaerobic, non-spore-forming.
STAPHYLOCOCCUS SPP	Gram-positive, aerobic and anaerobic, non-spore-
SPOROLACTOBACILLUS SPP	Gram-positive, aerobic and anaerobic, spore-
forming, capable of growth at low pH.

Nisaplin® will not control Gram-negative bacteria, yeasts or moulds. 
Topical News
Bacillus sporothermodurans is a thermophillic, heat-resistant bacterium 
which is a cause of great concern in UHT in many parts of the world. This 
can be very effectively controlled by Nisaplin®. 

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