Bread is a staple food worldwide. It commonly undergoes physico-chemical and microbiological changes which impair its quality and shelf-life. Staling determines organoleptic impairment, whereas microbiological spoilage causes visible mould growth and invisible production of mycotoxins. To tackle this economic and safety issue, the bakery industry has been working to identify treatments which allow bread safety and extended shelf-life. Physical methods and chemical preservatives have long been used. However, new frontiers have been recently explored. Sourdough turned out an ancient but novel technology to preserve standard and gluten-free bread. Promising results have also been obtained by application of alternative bio-preservation techniques, including antifungal peptides and plant extracts. Active packaging, with absorbing and/or releasing compounds effective against bread staling and/or with antimicrobials preventing growth of undesirable microorganisms, showed up an emerging area of food technology which can confer many preservation benefits. Nanotechnologies are also opening up a whole universe of new possibilities for the food industry and the consumers. This work thus aims to provide an overview of opportunities and challenges that traditional and innovative anti-staling and anti-spoilage methods can offer to extend bread shelf-life and to provide a basis for driving further research on nanotechnology applications into the bakery industry.
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