Natamycin is also known commonly as pimaricin or natacyn. It is an anti-fungal agent produced during aerobic fermentation by the Streptomyces natalensis, a bacterium found commonly in soil. Natamycin is a polyene macrolide anti-biotic Natamycin is sparingly soluble in water and required in very low concentrations. available as an odorless, white, granular powder as well as crystalline solid. Commercially, Natamycin can be produced through industrial scale fermentation process with the help of Streptomyces natalensis followed by isolation of the antibiotic either through broth extraction or through seperation of the mycelium.
The mode of antifungal action of natamycin involves binding to specific receptors on the fungal membranes and is dependent on the presence of sterols in the fungal cell membrane, usually ergosterol. This binding causes leakages in the fungal cell membrane and leads to eventual death of the fungi. Natamycin is mostly used as an additive in food for preservation and protection against growth of fungi such as yeasts and moulds. Natamycin and its broken down metabolite products do not have toxicity for humans or animals. Repeated daily natamycin intakes of more than 500 mg/kg, through cheese or meat, have been found to cause diarrhea, vomiting and nausea in humans.
Natamycin is primarily used as an essential ingredient in packaged foods and beverages, especially in dairy and meat products, for preservation. It is a preferred substitute for traditional chemical preservatives. Potential benefits for the utility of natamycin over chemical preservatives include neutral taste or flavor impact and less pH dependence for efficacy. Natamycin can be utilized in several ways such as aqueous suspensions (brine mixtures) that can be sprayed on the products’ surface or the product can be dipped into the solution.
It can also be used in powdered forms (along with certain anti-caking agents including cellulose) that can be sprinkled on and/or mixed into the food product. Natamycin is also used in pharmaceuticals and drugs as antifungal preservatives and in antifungal creams or solutions for skin, eyes or oral infection. Natamycin is not absorbed by the body and does not cause any systemic infections in humans.
Natamycin market is driven by its demand for manufacturing preservatives for dairy and meat food products such as cheese and sausages. Demand growth is expected to be driven by the growth of global population and increased demand for dairy and meat products. Additionally, increased use in antifungal pharmaceutical products is expected to fuel market growth. However, slow adoption in North America and Latin America might restrain market growth. Further, there is a wide range of artificial chemical preservatives available as a substitute for Natamycin. New product development using stabilizing additives to improve stability and shelf life can be a prospective market opportunity for further demand growth.
In terms of geography, Asia Pacific is the largest as well as the fastest growing consumer of Natamycin riding on high sales of end use application products such as dairy and meat food products to its large population base. Two of the most populated countries, China and India are situated in Asia. Both these countries are growing rapidly and witnessing rising disposable income and purchase power parity of the general population. This in turn is expected to drive demand for consumer goods using Natamycin.
Europe is another major consumer for Natamycin especially in cheese and sausages. North America is expected to witness comparatively slower growth than other regions due to non-clearance from the regulatory bodies in the region.
Some of the key market players include Qingdao FTZ United International Inc., Toku-E Company, D & F Control Systems Inc. and DSM Food Specialties among others.
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