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Aims: Cell survival and antagonistic activity against Listeria innocua, Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus were investigated after spray-drying three bacteriocin-producing strains of lactic acid bacteria: Carnobacterium divergens, Lactobacillus salivarius and Lactobacillus sakei.

Methods and Results: Bacterial cell concentrates were spray-dried and stored at 4°C and 18°C and 0·3% ERH (equilibrium relative humidity). Enumeration and antagonistic activity were evaluated before and after spray-drying and at regular intervals during storage.

Conclusions: A higher survival rate was obtained when survival was performed at 4°C. With the exception of Carnobacterium divergens which lost the inhibitory activity against Staph. aureus after drying, antagonistic production was not affected by the process nor by the storage. Of the three species studied, Lact. salivarius showed the highest resistance to the spray-drying and storage processes.

Significance and Impact of Study: Spray-drying is a potentially useful process for large scale production of dried powders containing viable organisms with antagonistic activity against pathogens.