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Nisin is a natural antimicrobial agent used as a preservative in heat processed and low pH foods. According to the Food Chemical News Guide (a reference guide to the uses of foods additives permitted under Federal Law), a nisin preparation is a concentrate of dry material derived from the controlled fermentation of a naturally occurring milk bacteria Streptococcus lactis. This bacterium contains nisin, a group of related peptides (partial amino acid chains that make up proteins) with antibiotic activity. The chemical nisin cannot be synthesized artificially, so the nisin-producing bacteria are basically farmed for their synthesis of nisin.

How is it made?

Technical specifications for  nisin  indicate that the process begins by fermenting the milk bacteria. The resulting nisin is concentrated, separated, and dried before milling into fine particles and standardized by the addition of sodium chloride (salt). The resulting typical composition is nisin (2.5%), sodium chloride (greater than 50%) ,protein (23.8%), and moisture (less than 3%).

Is it safe?

Nisin is listed as a "natural preservative" in chemical dictionaries. In addition,  nisin as "replacement or partial replacement of chemical preservatives." Nisin was awarded the Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) designation in the U.S. Federal Register of April, 1988 and is approved as a natural food preservative in the United States. It is also approved as a natural food preservative by more than 40 other countries as well as with the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization and the European Union. The Nisaplin brand of nisin is certified kosher, as well.

Despite these endorsements, it is important to note that nisin is not currently approved as an allowable ingredient in organic food production. According to the latest Organic Materials Review Institute list, the National Organic Standards Board considers it a prohibited processing ingredient and any organic food containing added nisin will lose its organic status. However, some individuals in the organic industry are asking that nisin be reconsidered for inclusion on the allowable list. The primary objection to nisin has been the fact that it can, in some instances, be the product of genetically engineered bacteria. However, it may be possible for manufacturers to discern the genetically engineered status of nisin prior to using it in their products. If organic food manufacturers can reliably select nisin from non-genetically engineered bacteria, it could be deemed compatible with organic food processing. Research regarding this issue is now underway.

Use and limitations:

In the U.S., nisin is used to inhibit outgrowth of Clostridium botulinum spores (the cause of botulism) and toxin formation in pasteurized process cheese spreads with fruits, vegetables or meats at levels not exceeding good manufacturing practice. Current good manufacturing practice in this case is the quantity of the ingredient that delivers a maximum of 250 p.p.m. of nisin in the finished product.  nisin is also approved for liquid egg products, dressings, and sauces. In other countries it is also used in fresh and recombined milk, fermented beverages like beer, canned foods, frozen desserts, and high moisture/reduced fat foods.

Nisin is considered effective at controlling a wide range of gram-positive organisms including: Listeria, enterococcus, Bacillus sporothermodurans, and clostridium. Used alone, it is not effective on gram-negative bacteria (like E coli ), yeasts, and molds. However, research suggests that it may be useful against some gram-negative bacteria when used in conjunction with other preservatives.

In conclusion-based on the way it is manufactured, its GRAS status, and its "natural" labeling designation-nisin appears to qualify as a safe and natural food preservative.

Registered Index :

CAS No.1414—45—5; INS No.234; EEC No.234

Molecular Formula: C 143H 228N 42O 37S 7

Molecular Weight: 3348


Nisin is white color powder with hydrous potency 1000IU/mg. It is stable in room temperature and acidity condition even heated. It can endurance 30 min in pH=2.0 、 121 ℃ and 15 min in pH=3.0 、 121 ℃ . But at the high pH, the stability of activity can be greatly affected.

Quality Specification:

Item Standard Item Standard
Appearance Grey or White Powder Sodium Chloride Min 50%
Water Content Max 3% Hydrous Potency Min 1 × 10 6 IU/g
pH of 10% Aqueous Solution 3.10—3.60 Microbiological Count Max 10/g
Pb Max 10mg/kg E.Coli in 25g Absent
As Max 3mg/kg Salmonella in 25g Absent

Amount for Application: GB 2760-2008; FAO/WHO, 1984; FDA § 184.1; EEC

Toxicity: GRAS(FDA § 184.1538, 1994); ADI 33000 IU/kg (FAO/WHO, 1994)

Packing: 500g*20bottles/carton;1000g*20bottles/carton; as customers request.

Storage: Store unopened under 20℃ In dry conditions, away from direct sunlight. When opened, store under 20℃ in original container in dry conditions, away from direct sunlight. Shelf life is 18 months when stored according to recommendations.