Extraction of antimicrobial peptides from plants for the preservation of foodstuffs

A research project of the Chair of Food Chemistry at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg.

Peptides represent an important class of food ingredients that can both promote consumer health and improve food quality. As part of the project on the extraction of antimicrobial peptides from plants, the effectiveness of peptides from chickpea as a preservative for food was analysed.

Peptides as highly effective natural preservatives

Antimicrobial peptides can, for example, suppress the growth of spoilage pathogens and pathogenic germs in food and thus improve its quality and safety. With analytical methods that are now available, peptide structures can be comprehensively elucidated and their functional properties determined. As a result, peptides are becoming increasingly important as natural substances that can be added to food to provide additional health benefits.

The aim of the project was to obtain peptides from plant foods that exert an antimicrobial effect. For this purpose, the storage protein from chickpea was enzymatically hydrolysed and the resulting peptides were analysed. Through virtual screening, 21 potentially antimicrobial peptides were identified. Two of these peptides proved to be particularly effective and showed antibacterial activity against 16 different spoilage, pathogenic and antibiotic-resistant strains. Compared to conventional preservatives, 10 to 1,000 times more (and additionally bactericidal) activity was demonstrated.

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Chair of Food Chemistry
Project leader:
Dr Monika Pischetsrieder

Results of the project:

Publication in the scientific journal "Food Chemistry" 347 (2021): 128917

Publication in the scientific journal "Foods" 10.3 (2021): 585

Publication in the scientific journal "Foods" 10.6 (2021): 1192