CHAPTER 16: Chemistry and Function of Antimicrobial Peptides
Published:03 Jun 2021
A. Lone, T. A. E. Ahmed, and R. Hammami, in Food Proteins and Peptides: Emerging Biofunctions, Food and Biomaterial Applications, ed. C. C. Udenigwe, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2021, pp. 402-425.
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The future of antimicrobial strategies lies in the utilization of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), especially with the continuing global public health challenges of antibiotic resistance. AMPs have been identified as a natural ingredient in diverse food sources. Further, they can be generated from different food sources following digestion mediated by fermentation, food processing approaches and gastrointestinal juices. AMPs are short polypeptide chains with short conserved antimicrobial sequences. These peptides can be classified based on their secondary structure or their physicochemical properties. The activity of AMPs is dependent mainly on their sequence, length, degree of helicity, charge, hydrophobicity and amphipathicity. A slight change in these parameters can lead to dramatic changes in the activities of AMPs. AMPs attack the outer bacterial cell membrane using different strategies along with intracellular targets, including DNA, RNA and proteins. AMPs exhibit high specificity with a broad range of activity, making them ideal antimicrobials, particularly if used for functional foods. In addition, they can be used as sanitizers to stop bacterial growth and prevent biofilm formation along with their utilization as biopreservatives. Furthermore, AMPs can be incorporated into active antimicrobial packaging. Moreover, AMPs are effective in inhibiting spoilage and proliferation of pathogenic microorganisms. Overall, the multifaceted antimicrobial nature of AMPs can be utilized to maintain food safety and subsequently extend the shelf life of foods and reduce food waste.