Title page for ETD etd-09202006-095811

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Teter, Vanessa Elizabeth
URN etd-09202006-095811
Title Ensuring the Stability of Natamycin on Shredded Cheese
Degree Master of Science
Department Food Science and Technology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Marcy, Joseph E. Committee Chair
Sumner, Susan S. Committee Member
Williams, Robert C. Committee Member
  • cyclodextrin
  • inclusion complex
  • natamycin
  • polyene macrolide
  • antimycotic
  • antifungal
  • preservative
  • UV absorber
  • photodegradation
  • pimaricin
  • stability
  • solubility
Date of Defense 2006-08-24
Availability restricted
Natamycin is an antimycotic compound that is widely used in the cheese industry to increase the shelf life of cheeses, especially shredded cheeses, by inhibiting the growth of molds. Natamycin is applied to the surface of cheese as an aqueous suspension or as a powder. However, natamycin is not readily water soluble making it harder to distribute evenly over shredded cheese Natamycin is degraded by ultraviolet (UV) light at wavelengths of 350 nm and below. Typical packaging applications do not provide adequate UV protection causing natamycin to degrade.

This work was undertaken to determine the efficacy of UV absorber film to prevent UV light degradation of natamycin on the surface of shredded cheese. Current accepted methods to determine concentration of natamycin were evaluated for appropriateness in natamycin degradation studies. The use of cyclodextrins to increase water solubility was tested to see if a uniform distribution of natamycin over the shredded cheese could be done effectively. Furthermore, a known application of mold was performed to see how well natamycin and each of its applications could prevent visible mold growth from occurring.

The International Dairy Federation recognizes two methods to quantify natamycin on shredded cheese: high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and spectrophotometry. Concentrations of natamycin in aqueous suspensions were determined using both methods. Results show that spectrophotometry is flawed when quantifying the amount of active natamycin because the method gives erroneously high results. The amount of active natamycin is not accurately quantified using spectrophotometric techniques because it cannot separate the active form from the inactive form of natamycin.

Polymer packages containing a UV absorber (11.4% light transmission at 350 nm) allow significantly less UV-associated degradation of natamycin than those packages that lacked a UV protectant (90.0% light transmission at 350 nm) (p<0.05). Incorporating a UV absorber into a package helps protect natamycin and its various complexes from UV light degradation, which can increase the shelf life of shredded cheese. However, even with a UV absorber, natamycin is still able to degrade.

Natamycin was complexed with different cyclodextrins to help better solubilize natamycin – β-cyclodextrin, hydroxy-propyl β-cyclodextrin and γ-cyclodextrin. Using cyclodextrins to apply natamycin more uniformly onto shredded cheese did not significantly increase the consistency of distribution (p<0.05). Variability was uniform throughout all treatments with the exception of HPBCD complex. After 27 days, all of the UV packages treated with each of the cyclodextrin treatments containing shredded cheese began to show visible mold growth. Those packages stored in total darkness remained mold free through the duration of the experiment ending on day 62.

When untreated with natamycin and an initial concentration of 101-102 spores/gram of Penicillium roqueforti, shredded cheese remained free from visible mold growth for 24 days in total darkness at 4°C. Samples treated with one of the natamycin treatments were able to remain mold free for at least 9 more days, showing visible signs of mold growth at day 33. There was no statistical difference between the treatments of dry natamycin, aqueous suspension natamycin, β-cyclodextrin-natamycin complex, and γ-cyclodextrin-natamycin complex (p<0.05). However, there was a difference with the use of hydroxy-propyl β-cyclodextrin-natamycin complex. Hydroxy-propyl β-cyclodextrin-natamycin complex allowed the shredded cheese to last for 41 days, 17 days longer than the control sample.

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