What Is Natamycin (E235) In Food? Uses, Safe, Side Effects

What Is Natamycin (E235) In Food? Uses, Safe, Side Effects


Table of Contents

Natamycin, also called pimaricin, is a white and close to milky white odorless tasteless crystalline powder produced by controlled fermentation of Streptomyces natamycin, which belongs to polyene macrolides. Natamycin, as a microbial preservative, has a wide range of uses and can be used in cheese and sausage surface treatment to inhibit yeast and mold, thereby acting as if.

It is also used as a food additive, commonly found in yogurt, baked goods, beverages, and wine, and its European Food additive number is E235. Natamycin has no inhibitory effect on the bacteria, so it does not affect the natural maturation process of yogurt, cheese, raw ham, and dry sausage.

What is natamycin?

Natamycin is a natural antibiotic produced by Streptomyces natalensis. It is used as a preservative in foods, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. It is also used to prevent fungal growth in some raw meat products, such as ground beef and poultry. Natamycin is not approved for use in the United States.

Natamycin was first isolated in 1960 by a team led by Jiro Wada at the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Japan. The structure of natamycin was determined in 1964 by Ciba Pharmaceutical Company scientists Walter H. Noll and Wolfgang Kränzlin. Natamycin has been used in Japan since 1964 under the brand name Nattan or Natavan.

What is natamycin used for?

Natamycin is an antimicrobial, which is used to prevent the growth of molds and yeast on food products. It is also used in the treatment of fungal infections. Natamycin is known by several trade names, including Arestin, Naturasin, and Natacyn.

Natamycin is produced by Streptomyces natalensis, a bacterium that lives in soil and was discovered in the 1960s in South Africa. Natamycin is a polyene macrolide antibiotic that works by inhibiting fungal cell wall synthesis. The drug inhibits the enzyme ergosterol synthase, which is responsible for producing sterols that are essential components of fungal membranes.

Natamycin is used as a preservative in many foods, as well as a fungicide and antifungal agent. It is also used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. fruits.

Natamycin is also known as natamycin A or methoxysarcosine (MSC), which refers to a particular structural form of natamycin with a methoxy group (CH3O) attached to one of its carbon atoms.

Natamycin is a food additive that is used as a preservative. It is approved for use in the United States and Europe.

Natamycin is found naturally in some types of cheeses, such as Roquefort, but it can also be synthesized in a laboratory. Natamycin inhibits the growth of microorganisms by binding to their cell walls and preventing them from growing and reproducing.

Natamycin is added to food products to prevent mold growth. It prevents the growth of many types of fungi and yeasts, including Aspergillus niger, Penicillium notatum, Fusarium venenatum, Trichosporon cutaneum, and Candida albicans. It also inhibits the growth of bacteria like Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus cereus.

Natamycin is a preservative. It is made from the mold Streptomyces natalensis. Natamycin is a polyene macrolide antibiotic, which is naturally produced by the bacterium Streptomyces natalensis. It is used as a food additive to inhibit the growth of yeast and molds in food products. The chemical structure of natamycin is similar to erythromycin, but it does not have antibacterial properties.

How is natamycin made?

Natamycin, as a natural Streptomyces, can be isolated and extracted from fermentation broth by methanol, butanol, and propanol. In 1999, our patent 5942611 reported an effective method for the extraction of high-quality natamycin. The extraction process of the method mainly includes four steps :

(1) filtrate the fermentation broth by cross-flow and concentrate the fermentation broth until the concentration of the fermentation broth reaches 10~50%.

(2) Adjust the pH value of the fermentation broth to 10~11, and add enough water-soluble organic solvents such as ethanol, propanol, tetrahydrofuran, and so on to dissolve natamycin in the fermentation broth.

(3) the fermentation insoluble material without activity is filtered out by cross-flow.

(4) Adjust the pH of filtration in the range of 5.5~7.5 to precipitate natamycin. The precipitated crystal can be used for further purification and drying. Therefore, the purification and extraction methods of natamycin can be summarized as fermentation, extraction, crystallization, and drying process.

How does natamycin work?

Natamycin can destroy the cytoplasmic membrane of fungi by interacting with sterol compounds on the fungal cell membrane through its lactone ring structure. The hydrophilic part (polyalcohol part) of the macrocyclic lipid forms water holes on the membrane, which damages the permeability of the cell membrane, and then causes the leakage of amino acids, electrolytes, and other substances in the bacteria, and the death of the bacteria.

Natamycin has no effect on certain microorganisms when sterol compounds are not present on their cell membranes, so natamycin inhibits only fungi but not bacteria.


Other Names


CAS Number


Chemical Formula


Molecular Weight





  • No odor, no taste and will not destroy the appearance, taste, and color of the food
  • A broad spectrum of antifungal activity
  • It is effective at low doses (1 – 10 ppm)
  • The active pH range suitable for acidic, neutral, and alkaline foods is (pH 3-9)


A crystalline powder with white to creamy white.


Methanol is slightly soluble in water lipid and minerals, but practically insoluble in water lipid and mineral oils.

What is the application of natamycin?

Natamycin is a natural, broad-spectrum, highly effective, and safe inhibitor of filamentous fungi such as yeast and mold. It can not only inhibit fungi but also prevent the production of mycotoxins and yeast. However, natamycin does not affect the natural ripening process of yogurt, cheese, raw ham, and dried sausages because it has no inhibitory effect on bacteria. Therefore, it can be used as a biological preservative on the surface of such natural fermentation products, thus extending the shelf life.


Natamycin can be sprayed onto cheese to prevent mildew and extend its shelf life. It is also effective when applied by soaking the cheese in the solution.

Dried meat

By soaking or spraying meat, natamycin can be used to achieve safe and effective mildew control. Casing soaked in a suspension of natamycin at a concentration of 0.05% to 0.2% (w/v), or used to soak or spray the surface of the sausage that has been filled, can effectively prevent mold on the surface of the sausage. Roast meat, roast duck and other roasted products, and dried fish products, can also be sprayed with 0.05%~0.1% (W/V) concentration of natamycin suspension, prolonging the shelf life of products.


It can prevent mildew and prolong shelf life effectively when used in rice cakes and steamed buns. Natamycin, used in vinegar and other condiments, can prevent deterioration caused by mold and yeast. In beer, fruit and vegetable juices, and wine, 5-10mg/kg of natamycin can greatly prolong the shelf life. In addition, adding 5 to 10ppm natamycin to yogurt can prolong the shelf life of the product. It can also be used in non-yeast fermented baked goods.

Differences between Natamycin and Sorbates and Benzoates

Natamycin is a natural compound that is found in some types of cheese. It is used as a preservative in food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. Natamycin works as an antifungal by preventing the growth of mold. It also helps to prevent bacterial contamination, which can be caused by the growth of bacteria on foods that have been treated with natamycin. The main difference between natamycin and sorbates and benzoates is their mode of action.

Sorbates and benzoates are chemical preservatives that prevent spoilage by acting as antimicrobial agents. They work by inhibiting certain enzymes needed for certain microorganisms to grow. Sorbates are also known as potassium sorbate or sodium sorbate; whereas, benzoates are also known as potassium benzoate or sodium benzoate.

Natamycin is a naturally occurring substance found in some types of cheese such as Camembert cheese. It has been used in food preparation since the 1950s because it has antifungal properties. This means that it prevents the growth of fungi such as molds on food products and is used as a preservative in the food industry. Natamycin is also used in some pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, and personal care products.

Is natamycin safe to use?

Yes, As a food additive, it has been approved by the FDA, As well as Canada Health, EFSA, Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), and other authorities may be involved.

In June 1982, natamycin was officially approved by the FDA as a food preservative. In 1996, natamycin was officially approved as a food preservative by the Chemical Technical Committee of China Food Additives Standard. Other authorities, such as Health Canada, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), and the FAO / WHO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), have also acknowledged natamycin as a safety additive for food safety.


It’s allowed to add it to food for human consumption, and it could also be used as an antimycotic on cheese at a level not exceeding 20 milligrams per kilogram.

The FDA will not question the DSM’s conclusion that natamycin is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) when used as an antimycotic to prevent the growth of molds and yeasts in ready-to-drink tea beverages, fruit-flavored beverages & energy drinks, and sport and isotonic drinks at levels not more than 0.5 mg/kg.

Canada Health

It is permitted to use as a preventative measure on the surfaces of cheeses at maximum levels :

  1. Cheese comes in many varieties, including cheddar and cheese: 20ppm
  2. Grated or shredded cheese, such as Parmesan cheese, and grated or shredded cheddar cheese: 10 ppm.


Natamycin is an authorized food additive, listed in Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012 as part of the “Additives other than colours and sweeteners” category.

Evaluation in 2009

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that the use of natamycin as a food additive was safe for the surface treatment of the rind of semihard and semi-soft cheese and on the casings of certain sausages if used at recommended concentrations. It also found no evidence of antimicrobial resistance induction, even when used in these ways.

Authorized Uses And Use Level Allowances

The following are the details for the uses and levels of a given item:

  • Only when used as the external treatment of uncut hard, semi-soft, or semi-hard ripened cheese and cheese products: “1 mg/dim2″surface level, not deeper than 5mm.
  • Only surface treatment allowed on heat-treated, dried cured sausage is a max of 1mg/kg.

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA)

Categorized in “Preservatives”

Food Standards Australia New Zealand 

235 is the code number in Australia and New Zealand.


Classification: food additives, preservatives.
Acceptable daily intake: 0.3 mg/kg body weight, set in 1976.

What are the natamycin side effects?

Natamycin is an antifungal and antibacterial agent. It is used to control the growth of mold and bacteria on food products such as cheeses, jams, jellies, sauces, and other foods.

Natamycin may cause some side effects including:

Allergic reactions. Allergic reactions can occur with natamycin. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, and rash. If you have an allergic reaction to natamycin seek medical attention immediately by calling 911.

Liver damage. Natamycin can cause liver damage in some people, especially if taken for longer than one month at a time or if taken in high doses over many months or years. If you have chronic liver disease or are taking other medications that affect your liver function you should not take natamycin without first discussing it with your healthcare provider.

Where to buy natamycin?

The best way to buy natamycin is by ordering it online. You can find several vendors that sell this product, and they all have different prices and shipping policies.

The cheapest place to buy natamycin is Amazon.com. The prices are pretty good, and the shipping is free if you have a Prime account, so it’s a great deal. The other good thing about buying from Amazon is that the vendor offers an unconditional 30-day money-back guarantee on all orders. If for whatever reason you’re not happy with your purchase, you can send it back for a full refund (minus shipping costs). If you want to buy natamycin online from Amazon, click here:

The second best place to buy natamycin online is eBay.com because they also offer free shipping on most orders (they charge $2-$3 per order) and they offer an unconditional 30-day money-back guarantee as well (minus shipping costs). If you want to buy natamycin from eBay, click here:

Frequently asked questions

Is natamycin natural?

Natamycin is a natural substance that has been used to preserve food since the early 1960s. It is produced by Streptomyces natalensis, which is a species of bacteria.

Is natamycin halal?

Yes, natamycin is halal. Natamycin is a natural product derived from the fermentation of Streptomyces natalensis and has been shown to have inhibitory activity against various yeasts and molds. Natamycin is considered halal because it is derived from a naturally occurring organism.

Is natamycin kosher?

Natamycin is an antifungal compound, and it is not kosher. Kosher foods are prepared and served in a manner that adheres to Jewish law. Kosher foods are typically prepared with supervision by a rabbi or other religious authority, but natamycin is not on the list of kosher additives.

Is natamycin vegan?

Yes! Natamycin is a natural antibiotic that’s used to preserve foods and prevent the growth of mold. It’s not derived from animals, so it’s considered vegan-friendly.

Is natamycin gluten free?

The answer is yes. Natamycin, a common ingredient in medicinal and food-grade applications, is gluten-free.

Is natamycin safe during pregnancy?

According to the American Pregnancy Association, natamycin is likely safe for use during pregnancy as long as you are not experiencing any side effects from it.

If you’re experiencing side effects, talk to your doctor about whether or not to continue using natamycin or switch to another preservative.

Is natamycin an antibiotic?

Yes, natamycin is an antibiotic. It is a polyene macrolide antibiotic that was first discovered in the genus Streptomyces. Natamycin is used to treat eye and skin infections caused by yeast or mold.

Natamycin is a type of antibiotic that is used to preserve dairy products like yogurt. It is typically added during the fermentation process, and it inhibits the growth of yeast and molds in the yogurt.

Natamycin is also effective against gram-positive bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is an important part of probiotic cultures that are used in yogurt production.



As you can see, there is some controversy regarding Natamycin. It is used for a variety of things including food preservation, but those that oppose it say that it can be dangerous to humans. It is not known as a carcinogen, but there have been arguments suggesting that it should be classified as one. For the most part, Natamycin appears to be safe to use in small amounts and has been used for decades by many reputable companies.

If you have any questions about the natamycin? Let us know in the below comments.

Sophie Feng

Sophie Feng

Sophie Feng is the author of gradechemical.com, she is the co-founder of the grade chemical network. She has been in grade chemical company since 2017, with a working knowledge of food chemical .

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