The effect of an antifungal culture of Lactobacillus plantarum to be used in the storage at refrigeration temperature of fresh black truffles was examined. The strain was selected among 29 lactobacilli isolated from foods and evaluated for their viability and acidification activity at 4 °C, as well as for their inhibitory activity against 11 Penicillium strains isolated from truffles stored at refrigeration temperature. Lb. plantarum 29 showed the ability to hold not only the growth of Penicillium isolated from truffles, but also that of P. digitatum DSM 2750, a green mold involved in the spoilage of truffles. The antifungal activity was observed in vitro and in situ, and the sensory characteristics of truffles were preserved during the cold storage.
In this study, a strain of Lactobacillus plantarum recognized as a safe microorganism, (generally regarded as safe [GRAS]), was selected for its ability to inhibit the growth of spoilage molds belonging to Penicillium spp. in fresh black truffles. The use of this lactic acid bacterium, alone or in association with other protective cultures, could bring different benefits, such as shelf life extension of fresh truffles by avoiding spoilage due to molds, and replacement of chemical preservatives with a natural and safe strategy.