A Natural Way to Inhibit Mold

by Theresa Cogswell, Baking & Snack
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Defining the terms “fresh” and “natural” is a difficult task and one that even FDA has not taken on, much less completed. When consumers of baked foods are asked to describe the term “fresh,” the phrase “free from mold” is among their common responses. If consumers are asked to define a “natural” product, they usually include the comment “free from artificial preservatives, colors and other additives.” So for the consumer looking for a “fresh” and “natural” product, it means they are looking for fewer ingredients or a cleaner label while maintaining a mold-free shelf life.

If food scientists and bakers are searching for additional mold-free shelf life beyond the typically known natural mold inhibitors (vinegar, raisin juice concentrate, cultured flours, cultured starches and plum paste), the naturally derived antimicrobial Natamax B from Danisco USA, Inc., New Century, KS, may be the answer.

NATURAL AND SAFE. The active ingredient in Natamax B is natamycin, which is produced through a natural fermentation process. Natamycin has been used as an antifungal food preservative since the 1970s, extending shelf life and preventing mycotoxin formation. When sprayed on bakery items in production, Natamax B’s low solubility allows it to remain on the surface of the baked item where mold can grow. Natamax B is active at low concentrations (1 to 20 ppm) and a wide pH range (pH 3 to 9).

As a flavorless antimicrobial, Natamax B can also be used with other in-dough options. With the addition of Natamax B, levels of other antimicrobials can be decreased, which helps mitigate the off-flavors produced by some in-dough antimicrobials and reduces the need for higher yeast usage. With Natamax B, baked foods are produced with a clean flavor. Natamax B is labeled as natamycin (natural mold inhibitor) and is allergen free.

APPLICATION AND TESTING. For commercial application, Danisco addressed the most difficult and challenging products, including whole-wheat, wholegrain and high-fiber products, as well as tortillas, English muffins and thin sandwich buns. The graph displayed here shows the results of a whole-grain/high-fiber product tested in a commercial bakery.

“We have evaluated hundreds of loaves of bread,” said Brian Fatula, Danisco’s team manager for bakery and oils. “The bread made with Natamax B is always the last moldfree product standing. Danisco has a team of microbiologists who are actively involved in bakery trials, including environmental and finished product testing. Knowing your starting point on microbial load provides a clear perspective and relative starting point on use level.”

One commercial baker said, “We’re pleased to find a way to increase mold-free shelf life but totally amazed to find an ingredient that can be sprayed on the product and reduce cost while improving flavor.”

To offer users a turnkey solution, Danisco teamed up with Spraying Systems Co., Wheaton, IL, to devise an effective, consistent and economical spray-on delivery system for Natamax B. To help customers with start-up, Danisco offers support services ranging from assistance with set-up and design, model spray unit for trials, finished product testing and regulatory support. For additional information on Natamax B, visit www.natamax.com.

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