DOI: 10.1111/1750-3841.17001 ISSN: 0022-1147

Bacteriostasis of nisin against planktonic and biofilm bacteria: Its mechanism and application

Ying Shi, Tao Wen, Feng Zhao, Jia Hu
  • Food Science


Food safety incidents caused by bacterial contamination have always been one of the public safety issues of social concern. Planktonic cells, viable but non‐culturable (VBNC) cells, and biofilm cells of bacteria can coexist in food or food processing, posing more serious challenges to public health and safety by increasing bacterial survival and difficulty in detection. As a non‐toxic, no side effect, and highly effective bacteriostatic substance, nisin has received wide attention from researchers. In this review, we summarized the species and biosynthesis of nisin, the effects of nisin alone or in combination with other treatments on planktonic and biofilm cells, and its applications in the fields of food, feed, and medicine by consulting numerous studies. Meanwhile, the mechanism of nisin on planktonic and biofilm cells was proposed based on existing researches. Nisin not only has antibacterial activity against most G+ bacteria but also exhibits a bacteriostatic effect on G bacteria when combined with other antibacterial treatments. In addition to planktonic cells, nisin also has significant effects on bacterial cells in biofilms by changing the thickness, density, and composition of biofilms. Based on the three action processes of nisin on biofilms, we summarized the changes of bacteria in biofilms, including the causes of bacterial death and the formation of the VBNC state. We consider that research on the relationship between nisin and VBNC state should be strengthened.

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