Food matrix design can influence the antimicrobial activity in the food systems: A narrative review

Li Wang, Matthijs Dekker, Jenneke Heising, Liming Zhao, Vincenzo Fogliano*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Antimicrobial agents are safe preservatives having the ability to protect foods from microbial spoilage and extend their shelf life. Many factors, including antimicrobials’ chemical features, storage environments, delivery methods, and diffusion in foods, can affect their antimicrobial activities. The physical-chemical characteristics of the food itself play an important role in determining the efficacy of antimicrobial agents in foods; however the mechanisms behind it have not been fully explored. This review provides new insights and comprehensive knowledge regarding the impacts of the food matrix, including the food components and food (micro)structures, on the activities of antimicrobial agents. Studies of the last 10 years regarding the influences of the food structure on the effects of antimicrobial agents against the microorganisms’ growth were summarized. The mechanisms underpinning the loss of the antimicrobial agents’ activity in foods are proposed. Finally, some strategies/technologies to improve the protection of antimicrobial agents in specific food categories are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 May 2023


  • antimicrobial activities
  • Antimicrobial agents
  • food (micro)structures
  • food compositions
  • mechanisms of the reduced antimicrobial activity in food matrix


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