What are biogenic amines?

Biogenic amines (BA) are amino acid derivatives, and are formed during fermentation (e.g., cheese ripening and wine fermentation) and decomposition of protein, usually fish. These biogenic amines include histamine, tyramine, cadaverine, putrecine, and related metabolites. They may cause adverse effects and are involved in several pathogenic syndromes.

The most dangerous BAs, histamine and tyramine, are most often found in fish like tuna, sardines, anchovies or cheese, and can lead to “scombroid fish poisoning” and “cheese reaction” respectively. Food BA content has been linked to the poor hygiene of non-fermented foods, but the potential to produce BAs is widespread in gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, including strains used as starter cultures.

Biogenic amines under EU law

Although there is no specific legislation concerning BAs, the General Food Law sets the responsibility of food safety to business operators in the food chain. Therefore, the characterisation of the microorganisms used in the food chain should be commissioned by the makers of the products, and they should assess the risk of BAs too with microbial testing.


Biosafe can analyse your product for Biogenic amines

Biosafe can provide an analysis of BAs based on a bioinformatic search of the genome, as well as a laboratory in vitro analysis of BA production. We can also help in the risk assessment of BAs in the intended use of the microorganism.


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