Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 99, Issue 1, pp 113–119 | Cite as

Safety and regulation of yeasts used for biocontrol or biopreservation in the food or feed chain

  • Ingvar SundhEmail author
  • Petter Melin
Original Paper


Yeasts have been important components of spontaneous fermentations in food and beverage processing for millennia. More recently, the potential of utilising antagonistic yeasts, e.g. Pichia anomala and Candida spp., for post-harvest biological control of spoilage fungi during storage of plant-derived produce (‘biopreservation’) has been clearly demonstrated. Although some yeast species are among the safest microorganisms known, several have been reported in opportunistic infections in humans, including P. anomala and bakers’ yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. More research is needed about the dominant pathogenicity and virulence factors in opportunistic yeasts, and whether increased utilisation of biopreservative yeasts in general could contribute to an increased prevalence of yeast infections. The regulatory situation for yeasts used in post-harvest biocontrol is complex and the few products that have reached the market are mainly registered as biological pesticides. The qualified presumption of safety (QPS) approach to safety assessments of microorganisms intentionally added to food or feed, recently launched by the European Food Safety Authority, can lead to more efficient evaluations of new products containing microbial species with a sufficient body of knowledge or long-term experience on their safety. P. anomala is one of several yeast species that have been given QPS status, although the status is restricted to use of this yeast for enzyme and metabolite production purposes. With regard to authorisation of new biopreservative yeasts, we recommend that the possibility to regulate microorganisms for food biopreservation as food additives be considered.


Biological control Biopreservation Yeast Pichia anomala Food Feed Antagonistic microorganisms QPS Safety assessment 



This study was carried out as part of the research programme Domestication of Microorganisms (DOM,, funded by Mistra (Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research). We are grateful to Svend Laulund, Chr. Hansen A/S, Denmark, for advice concerning the regulation of microbial food cultures.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, Uppsala BioCenter, SLUSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden

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