There were characterised the properties, structure and spectrum of activity of plantaricins produced by some Lactobacillus strains. There were illustrated their classification, biosynthesis mechanism, models of their action when affecting other bacteria and stability. Plantaricins are quite diverse in terms of the physical-chemical properties, structure and spectrum of antimicrobial activity. Lactobacillus plantarum strains that are capable of synthesising plantaricins belong to microorganisms most frequently present in the fermented food products and also in beverages and other milk-based products. The structure of molecules, their stability and the mechanisms of action make plantaricins effective in bactericidal activity. Owing to the low resistance of pathogenic organisms to those substances, the plantaricins could be an alternative to many currently used antimicrobial compounds with antimicrobial activity. Plantaricins affect the inhibition of the growth of pathogenic microorganisms and, consequently, they contribute to the improvement of human health. Because of the growing interest in natural products, in the future plantaricins can be applied in various industrial branches. The results of the studies on their use could become a basis to develop effective probiotic preparations, starter cultures to produce fermented food or novel food preservation methods; as a consequence all those measures will contribute to the improvement of human health and life.
plantaricins, food safety, Lactobacillus plantarum, plantaricin operon