Special Issue "Microbial Technologies for Sustainable Food Production: Bio-Based Eco- Friendly Solutions"

A special issue of Fermentation (ISSN 2311-5637). This special issue belongs to the section "Fermentation Process Design".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021) | Viewed by 9328

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Tiziana Nardi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CREA—Council for Agricultural Research and Economics - Research Centre for Viticulture and Enology, Conegliano, Italy
Interests: wine and food fermentations; winery and vineyard microbiota; wine spoilage; microbial valorization of food by-products; microbial resources for sustainability in vitiviniculture
Dr. Giacomo Zara
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Agraria, Università degli Studi di Sassari, Sassari, Italy
Interests: microbiology of food and beverages; valorization of food wastes; microbiota dynamics in food and soil; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; wine yeast
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

 

It is largely recognized that the sustainable production of food supplies will impact the long-term preservation of natural resources. In addition, FAO evaluations assess that the agri-food sector generates around a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainability in agri-food was firstly linked to field management, where the use of fertilizers, pesticides and heavy metals is a major concern.  Exploitation of the plant and soil microbiota is a focal point in developing a next-generation agriculture in this context. Indeed, the diverse community of plant and soil microorganisms affect plant fitness through direct or indirect effects like nutrient provision, alteration of plant development, pest resistance, etc.

Afterwards, the contribution of food processing has also been considered, as several procedures could be improved for reducing the environmental impact of the whole chain, including microbe-driven transformations. Microorganisms play a role in several stages of fermented-food and beverages production. Therefore, the exploitation of microbial resources and the best management of their interactions has potential effects on the environmental impact of the whole chain. The presence of proper yeast or bacterial strains, the management and timing of inoculation of starter cultures, and some appropriate technological modifications that favor selected microbial activities can lead to several positive effects.

Finally, agri-food wastes also cause major environmental problems, as water and soil pollution. However, food wastes are rich in nutrients and should be considered as renewable resources.  Using microorganisms, food wastes can be transformed into high-value goods such as liquid and gaseous biofuels, bioplastic, industrial enzymes and soil fertilizers.

Keeping in consideration the keyword “sustainability” of this Special Issue, the main topics are (not limited to) the following potential application of microorganisms:

(i) improve bio-fertilization, bio-protection and bio-control strategies from raw-material to food storage;

(ii) limit the use of chemical additives used as preservatives against microbial spoilage during food production;

(iii) allow a better energy management in fermentations;

(iv) protect microbial biodiversity throughout the processes;

(v) exploit and characterize beneficial microbiomes for fermented local-foods production;

(vi) reduce the environmental impact of agri-food by-products through their valorization or stabilization for reuse (e.g. composting, microbial wastewater treatment, production of added-value molecules)

Dr. Giacomo Zara
Dr. Tiziana Nardi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Fermentation is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • food production
  • fermented beverages
  • sustainability
  • yeast
  • lactic acid bacteria
  • microbial spoilage
  • agri-food by-products
  • bio-protection

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Unravelling the Impact of Grape Washing, SO2, and Multi-Starter Inoculation in Lab-Scale Vinification Trials of Withered Black Grapes
Fermentation 2021, 7(1), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/fermentation7010043 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 908
Abstract
Wine quality is strongly affected by chemical composition and microbial population of grape must, which, in turn, are influenced by several post-harvest treatments, including grape withering. Different strategies have been suggested to manage the fermenting must microbiota, as it plays a central role [...] Read more.
Wine quality is strongly affected by chemical composition and microbial population of grape must, which, in turn, are influenced by several post-harvest treatments, including grape withering. Different strategies have been suggested to manage the fermenting must microbiota, as it plays a central role in the outcomes of both spontaneous and guided fermentations. This study aimed at evaluating the impact of grape washing, SO2 addition, and selected starter culture inoculation on population dynamics, fermentation kinetics, and main oenological parameters in lab-scale trials, focusing on withered grapes usually used for Amarone production. Although grape washing treatment was effective in removing heavy metals and undesirable microorganisms from grape berry surface, inoculation of multi-starter cultures impacted more fermentation rates. Further, both grape washing and starter inoculation procedures had a remarkable impact on wine chemical characteristics, while 30 mg/L SO2 addition did not significantly affect the fermentation process. In summary, the best strategy in terms of limiting off-flavors and potentially reducing the need for SO2 addition in wine from withered grapes was the use of yeast starters, particularly mixed cultures composed by selected strains of Metschnikowia spp. and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Application of a washing step before winemaking showed a potential to improve organoleptic characteristics of wine. Full article
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Article
Exploring the Biodiversity of Red Yeasts for In Vitro and In Vivo Phenotypes Relevant to Agri-Food-Related Processes
Fermentation 2021, 7(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/fermentation7010002 - 24 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 882
Abstract
Red yeasts grow on food wastes, show antagonistic activity against food-spoilage microorganisms, produce food supplements, and may be utilized as feed-supplements themselves to positively modulate the quali-quantitative composition of intestinal microbiota. Therefore, they show a variety of possible biotechnological applications in agri-food-related processes. [...] Read more.
Red yeasts grow on food wastes, show antagonistic activity against food-spoilage microorganisms, produce food supplements, and may be utilized as feed-supplements themselves to positively modulate the quali-quantitative composition of intestinal microbiota. Therefore, they show a variety of possible biotechnological applications in agri-food-related processes. Here, to further explore the biotechnological potential of red yeasts, eleven strains ascribed to different species of the genera Rhodotorula and Sporobolomyces, differing for biomass and carotenoids production, were characterized in vitro for biofilm formation, invasive growth, and growth at the temperature range of 20–40 °C and in vivo for their antagonistic activity against the fungal pathogen and patulin producer Penicillium expansum. Most of them formed cellular MAT and showed invasive growth as well as adhesion to plastic materials. Four strains determined a significant reduction of fruit decay caused by P. expansum on apple fruit while the remaining seven showed different degrees of biocontrol activity. Finally, none of them grew at body temperature (>37 °C). Statistical analyses of both qualitative and quantitative phenotypic data, including biomass and carotenoids production, gathered further information on the most interesting strains for the biotechnological exploitation of red yeasts in agri-food-related process. Full article
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Article
Enzymatic Esterification as Potential Strategy to Enhance the Sorbic Acid Behavior as Food and Beverage Preservative
Fermentation 2020, 6(4), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/fermentation6040096 - 03 Oct 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1504
Abstract
Sorbic acid is the most commonly used preservative in the food industry. The antimicrobial inhibition of sorbic acid could be influenced by its lipophilic nature, which reduces its use in hydrophilic food formulations. Reactions between sorbic acid and glycerol catalyzed by lipases were [...] Read more.
Sorbic acid is the most commonly used preservative in the food industry. The antimicrobial inhibition of sorbic acid could be influenced by its lipophilic nature, which reduces its use in hydrophilic food formulations. Reactions between sorbic acid and glycerol catalyzed by lipases were studied in order to develop a novel sorbic acid derivate with a promising hydrophilic profile. The esterification reaction between sorbic acid and glycerol in a solvent-free system were performed with an immobilized lipase B from Candida antarctica (CALB). The glycerol sorbate product has been tested against S. griseus bacterium and Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast. Results indicate that the esterification of sorbic acid with glycerol does improve its antimicrobial properties against Saccharomyces cerevisie. The reported results demonstrate that esterification can be used as a strategy to improve the antimicrobial activity of sorbic acid. Full article
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Review

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Review
Microbial Biocontrol as an Alternative to Synthetic Fungicides: Boundaries between Pre- and Postharvest Applications on Vegetables and Fruits
Fermentation 2021, 7(2), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/fermentation7020060 - 11 Apr 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1610
Abstract
From a ‘farm to fork’ perspective, there are several phases in the production chain of fruits and vegetables in which undesired microbial contaminations can attack foodstuff. In managing these diseases, harvest is a crucial point for shifting the intervention criteria. While in preharvest, [...] Read more.
From a ‘farm to fork’ perspective, there are several phases in the production chain of fruits and vegetables in which undesired microbial contaminations can attack foodstuff. In managing these diseases, harvest is a crucial point for shifting the intervention criteria. While in preharvest, pest management consists of tailored agricultural practices, in postharvest, the contaminations are treated using specific (bio)technological approaches (physical, chemical, biological). Some issues connect the ‘pre’ and ‘post’, aligning some problems and possible solution. The colonisation of undesired microorganisms in preharvest can affect the postharvest quality, influencing crop production, yield and storage. Postharvest practices can ‘amplify’ the contamination, favouring microbial spread and provoking injures of the product, which can sustain microbial growth. In this context, microbial biocontrol is a biological strategy receiving increasing interest as sustainable innovation. Microbial-based biotools can find application both to control plant diseases and to reduce contaminations on the product, and therefore, can be considered biocontrol solutions in preharvest or in postharvest. Numerous microbial antagonists (fungi, yeasts and bacteria) can be used in the field and during storage, as reported by laboratory and industrial-scale studies. This review aims to examine the main microbial-based tools potentially representing sustainable bioprotective biotechnologies, focusing on the biotools that overtake the boundaries between pre- and postharvest applications protecting quality against microbial decay. Full article
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Review
Yeast Metabolism and Its Exploitation in Emerging Winemaking Trends: From Sulfite Tolerance to Sulfite Reduction
Fermentation 2021, 7(2), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/fermentation7020057 - 07 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1014
Abstract
Sulfite is widely used as a preservative in foods and beverages for its antimicrobial and antioxidant activities, particularly in winemaking where SO2 is frequently added. Thus, sulfite resistance mechanisms have been extensively studied in the fermenting yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nevertheless, in [...] Read more.
Sulfite is widely used as a preservative in foods and beverages for its antimicrobial and antioxidant activities, particularly in winemaking where SO2 is frequently added. Thus, sulfite resistance mechanisms have been extensively studied in the fermenting yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nevertheless, in recent years, a negative perception has developed towards sulfites in wine, because of human health and environmental concerns. Increasing consumer demand for wines with low SO2 content is pushing the winemaking sector to develop new practices in order to reduce sulfite content in wine, including the use of physical and chemical alternatives to SO2, and the exploitation of microbial resources to the same purpose. For this reason, the formation of sulfur-containing compounds by wine yeast has become a crucial point of research during the last decades. In this context, the aim of this review is to examine the main mechanisms weaponized by Saccharomyces cerevisiae for coping with sulfite, with a particular emphasis on the production of sulfite and glutathione, sulfite detoxification through membrane efflux (together with the genetic determinants thereof), and production of SO2-binding compounds. Full article
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Review
Microbial Resources, Fermentation and Reduction of Negative Externalities in Food Systems: Patterns toward Sustainability and Resilience
Fermentation 2021, 7(2), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/fermentation7020054 - 06 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1293
Abstract
One of the main targets of sustainable development is the reduction of environmental, social, and economic negative externalities associated with the production of foods and beverages. Those externalities occur at different stages of food chains, from the farm to the fork, with deleterious [...] Read more.
One of the main targets of sustainable development is the reduction of environmental, social, and economic negative externalities associated with the production of foods and beverages. Those externalities occur at different stages of food chains, from the farm to the fork, with deleterious impacts to different extents. Increasing evidence testifies to the potential of microbial-based solutions and fermentative processes as mitigating strategies to reduce negative externalities in food systems. In several cases, innovative solutions might find in situ applications from the farm to the fork, including advances in food matrices by means of tailored fermentative processes. This viewpoint recalls the attention on microbial biotechnologies as a field of bioeconomy and of ‘green’ innovations to improve sustainability and resilience of agri-food systems alleviating environmental, economic, and social undesired externalities. We argue that food scientists could systematically consider the potential of microbes as ‘mitigating agents’ in all research and development activities dealing with fermentation and microbial-based biotechnologies in the agri-food sector. This aims to conciliate process and product innovations with a development respectful of future generations’ needs and with the aptitude of the systems to overcome global challenges. Full article
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Review
Oleaginous Yeasts as Cell Factories for the Sustainable Production of Microbial Lipids by the Valorization of Agri-Food Wastes
Fermentation 2021, 7(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/fermentation7020050 - 03 Apr 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1328
Abstract
The agri-food industry annually produces huge amounts of crops residues and wastes, the suitable management of these products is important to increase the sustainability of agro-industrial production by optimizing the entire value chain. This is also in line with the driving principles of [...] Read more.
The agri-food industry annually produces huge amounts of crops residues and wastes, the suitable management of these products is important to increase the sustainability of agro-industrial production by optimizing the entire value chain. This is also in line with the driving principles of the circular economy, according to which residues can become feedstocks for novel processes. Oleaginous yeasts represent a versatile tool to produce biobased chemicals and intermediates. They are flexible microbial factories able to grow on different side-stream carbon sources such as those deriving from agri-food wastes, and this characteristic makes them excellent candidates for integrated biorefinery processes through the production of microbial lipids, known as single cell oils (SCOs), for different applications. This review aims to present an extensive overview of research progress on the production and use of oleaginous yeasts and present discussions on the current bottlenecks and perspectives of their exploitation in different sectors, such as foods, biofuels and fine chemicals. Full article
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