A Fun Day – Antifungal Dairy Product Protection

Large amounts of the dairy products are spoiled due to unwanted growth of yeast and molds. “AFunDay” aims to optimize the use of natural bioproduction to inhibit fungal spoilage of fermented, fresh dairy products. An innovative, clean-label way of protection shelf life is through the use of bioprotection cultures with antifungal effects. However, the interaction between potentially bioprotective strains or strain mixes, the different type of target organisms, relevant starter cultures, and the specific food matrices and processing steps is multifactorial, highly complex and at present poorly understood. A better understanding of the parameters and mechanisms will help to exploit this area to the fullest facilitating both the search for efficient cultures and the targeted application in relevant products fermented with different starter cultures.

By: Grith Mortensen

The project explores antifungal cultures and metabolites and their specific effects on spoilage molds and yeasts, as well as starter cultures, both in defined system and in fermented, fresh dairy products such as yoghurt and skyr. An initial joint effort creates a collection of product relevant fungal spoilage strains with known characteristics. Selected bioprotective cultures will be tested for volatile and non-volatile compound-based inhibitory activity towards the main relevant spoilers and starter cultures in defined systems and dairy products and grouped according to target range. Metabolite profiles of selected bioprotective cultures will be measured in defined systems and relevant products and the response of representative target strains towards these metabolites will be examined at the cellular and transcriptomic level.

Ultimately, “AFunDay” will pave the way for optimized use of bioprotective cultures, leading to prolonged shelf-life and reduced product loss due to spoilage.

Project period: January 2019 - June 2022

Budget: 4.175.475 DKK

Financing: Milk Levy Fund, University of Copenhagen, Sacco, Arla Foods

Project manager: Susanne Knøchel

Institution: Department of Food Science 

Participants: Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen, Arla Foods, and Sacco s.r.l




Shi C. & Knøchel S., Susceptibility of dairy associated molds towards microbial metabolites with focus on the response to diacetyl, Food Control (2020), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2020.107573

Shi C, Knøchel S. Sensitivity of Molds From Spoiled Dairy Products Towards Bioprotective Lactic Acid Bacteria Cultures. Front Microbiol. (2021) Feb 10;12:631730. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.631730. PMID: 33643260; PMCID: PMC7902714