Celebrating 65 years of the biopreservative natamycin

Natamycin is a natural mold and yeast inhibitor with an interesting story dating back to 1954. Today it’s used as an effective and stable natural mold inhibitor that significantly extends the shelf life of many products.

Essential to reduce food waste

One of DSM’s interest areas – and one of my personal concerns – is food waste and how to prevent it. It’s a huge problem; close to one third of the world’s food supply is wasted annually! Microbial food spoilage by molds and yeasts is a major contributor. This can occur at all stages in the value chain: during manufacturing, storage and transportation, in supermarkets, and of course in our homes.

Natamycin, I am delighted to say, is a key weapon in our battle against food waste. Spoilage of food by micro-organisms contributes to food being wasted. As a natural mold inhibitor, natamycin protects a wide variety of products against spoilage from molds and yeasts and keeps food fresh and safe for longer, thereby extending shelf life. What’s more, because it’s entirely natural, natamycin is a highly attractive solution for consumers, who tell us that they prefer shelf life to be extended through natural solutions. Today, DSM’s Delvo®Cid natamycin is enabling the protection of five million tonnes of hard cheese annually!

Natural and effective ingredient without taste impact, optimized by DSM

Personally, I am very sensitive to off-taste by chemical components such as sorbates and benzoates. Natamycin has no impact on the natural taste of your favorite food, which to me is a reason to buy certain products.

In addition, natamycin is produced by nature by a micro-organism called Streptomyces natalensis. DSM produces Delvo®Cid natamycin by fermentation and therefore it is a natural fermentation-based compound that naturally and effectively protects against a very broad range of yeasts and molds. Natamycin and DSM have a long history, going back to 1954 and this year we celebrate 65 years of natamycin!

Discovery in South Africa 65 years ago

Natamycin was first discovered in a soil sample near Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, in 1954 by DSM scientists. If you want a fascinating glimpse into how research was conducted back then, watch this short 2½-minute video. It describes the work of Dr. Jacques Waisvisz, one of the developers of natamycin. He was working for the yeast producer Koninklijke Nederlandsche Gist- en Spiritusfabriek (KNG&SF) during the 1950s, which later became Gist-Brocades and eventually DSM.

Today natamycin is approved worldwide for a wide variety of applications

From 1954 to 1967 the product was developed, toxicology studies performed and global regulatory approval for its use requested. In 1967 natamycin was approved worldwide as a food additive to be applied on the surface of ripened cheeses and cured sausages, to prevent the growth of unwanted molds and yeasts.

Over the years, DSM has improved the performance of Delvo®Cid natamycin in various applications, replacing chemical alternatives like sorbate. Driven by its proven track record and consumers’ desire for natural ingredients, industry demand for more application approvals increased. From the early 2000s, new approvals were granted in yogurts and beverages in the USA, Mexico, and other countries worldwide. And more are to come!

If you would like to know how DSM’s natamycin Delvo®Cid can help to protect your food products, feel free to contact me.

Our experts are always ready to help you

Published on

28 November 2019