May 18, 2024

How a Raw Pork Snack From Vietnam Could Help Us Keep Food Fresh, Naturally

Bacteria-killing compound found in Nem Chua, a fermented pork snack
Poisonous to bacteria however safe for people, its a natural option to artificial food preservatives
Study reveals perfect development conditions to possibly make the bacteria-killer at industrial scales

The fermented pork treat, Nem Chua, is consumed raw however does not trigger food poisoning when prepared properly.

This is since friendly bacteria that flourish in the fermented meat make a special compound that damages more harmful germs.
Now researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have demonstrated how this natural bacteria-killing compound might be utilized to keep food fresh for longer.
Food waste is a worldwide problem that costs around $US680 billion every year in developed nations, consumes nearly a quarter of the water utilized in farming, and produces 8% of worldwide greenhouse emissions.
Food-borne illness like Listeria or Salmonella impact millions each year and can be deadly for pregnant ladies, older individuals, and those who are immunocompromised.
Listeria germs (green) passing away after exposure to Plantacyclin B21AG. The bumps noticeable on a lot of the cells are the cell contents beginning to leakage out. Credit: Dr. Elvina Parlindungan
Co-lead scientist Professor Oliver Jones stated modifications in consumer habits have caused a higher demand for natural options to artificial food preservatives.
” Scientists have learnt about these bacteria-killing substances for many years but the difficulty is to produce them in large adequate quantities to be utilized by the food market,” said Jones, Associate Dean of Biosciences and Food Technology at RMIT.
” The Nem Chua compound is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and really durable.
” Through this new research study, weve identified the best development conditions that would allow us to make it in large quantities, potentially at industrial scales.
” With additional development, we hope this could be a reliable, safe, and natural option for both food waste and food-borne disease.”
Bacteria-killing weapon
A group of RMIT scientists was motivated to examine Nem Chua for its potential anti-bacterial homes after traveling to Vietnam and observing people consuming the raw meat treat without getting ill, despite the hot and damp environment.
The group, led by Professor Andrew Smith (now at Griffith University) and Dr. Bee May, discovered a brand-new type of bacteria-killing compound in Nem Chua.
Plantacyclin B21AG is among a group of compounds known as bacteriocins, which are produced by bacteria to damage competing bacterial stress.
Left: Listeria germs, alive and with undamaged cell membranes. : The same germs after exposure to Plantacyclin B21AG, dead and with the cell membranes destroyed. Credit: Dr. Elvina Parlindungan
Bacteriocins form holes in the membranes of target bacteria. This causes the contents of the cell to leak out– successfully killing the bacteria.
The problem is most bacteriocins just work versus one or 2 types of germs and they are not really stable in various environmental conditions.
Only one– Nisin, which came to market in the 1960s– is currently licensed for usage as a food preservative, in a market estimated to be worth more than $US513 million in 2020, but this compound is temperature level and pH sensitive limiting its use.
Tough and efficient
The Nem Chua-derived compound is more robust than Nisin and works versus a wide variety of germs even after direct exposure to a variety of environments common in food processing.
It can survive being heated up to 90C for 20 minutes and stays steady across low and high pH levels.
The substance can likewise destroy a variety of disease-causing organisms commonly found in food including potentially lethal Listeria, which can make it through refrigeration and even freezing.
Co-lead researcher Dr. Elvina Parlindungan, who completed the brand-new research study as part of her PhD research at RMIT, is now a postdoctoral fellow at APC Microbiome, part of University College Cork in Ireland.
” Using bacteriocins as food preservatives efficiently implies we are turning bacterias own hazardous weapons against them– harnessing natures clever services to tackle our huge obstacles,” Parlindungan said.
” In the future, these compounds might also be helpful as an antibiotic in human medication.”
Researchers at RMITs School of Science have started explore methods to additional purify the substance and are planning to incorporate it into test food.
Reference: “Factors that affect growth and bacteriocin production in Lactiplantibacillus plantarum B21 ″ by Elvina Parlindungan, Chaitali Dekiwadi and Oliver A. H. Jones, 18 May 2021, Process Biochemistry.DOI: 10.1016/ j.procbio.2021.05.009.
The group is keen to collaborate with prospective industry partners to more establish the technology.
This work was supported by a PhD scholarship from the Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP), part of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia, granted to Parlindungan.

Listeria germs (green) passing away after exposure to Plantacyclin B21AG. Credit: Dr. Elvina Parlindungan
Left: Listeria bacteria, alive and with undamaged cell membranes.: The same bacteria after exposure to Plantacyclin B21AG, dead and with the cell membranes destroyed. Credit: Dr. Elvina Parlindungan

Vietnamese fermented pork snack, Nem Chua. Credit: RMIT University
Fermented meat treat is assisting researchers develop a safe, natural food preservative.
A traditional Vietnamese meat snack could hold the secret to developing a natural and safe food preservative, dealing with the twin worldwide issues of food waste and food-borne health problems.