Essential Oils as Biopreservatives

April 29/Food Weekly News -- According to a study from Turkey, "Food safety is a fundamental concern of both consumers and the food industry. The increasing incidence of foodborne diseases increases the demand of using antimicrobials in foods."

"Spices and plants are rich in essential oils and show inhibition activity against microorganisms, which are composed of many compounds. In this research, effects of garlic, bay, black pepper, origanum, orange, thyme, tea tree, mint, clove and cumin essential oils on Listeria monocytogenes AUFE 39237, Escherichia coli ATCC 25922, Salmonella enteritidis ATCC 13076, Proteus mirabilis AUFE 43566, Bacillus cereus AUFE 81154, Saccharomyces uvarum UUFE 16732, Kloeckera apiculata UUFE 10628, Candida albicans ATCC 10231, Candida oleophila UUPP 94365 and Metschnikowia fructicola UUPP 23067 and effects of thyme oil at a concentration of 0.5% on L. monocytogenes and C. albicans in apple-carrot juice during +4 degrees C storage (first to fifth day) were investigated. Strong antibacterial and antifungal activities of some essential oils were found. Thyme, origanum, clove and orange essential oils were the most inhibitory against bacteria and yeasts. Cumin, tea tree and mint oils inhibited the yeasts actively," wrote R. Irkin and colleagues, Balikesir University.

The researchers concluded, "It is concluded that some essential oils could be used as potential bio-preservatives capable of controlling foodborne pathogens and food spoilage yeasts."

Irkin and colleagues published the results of their research in Foodborne Pathogens and Disease ("Growth Inhibition of Pathogenic Bacteria and Some Yeasts by Selected Essential Oils and Survival of L. monocytogenes and C. albicans in Apple-Carrot Juice." Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, 2009;6(3):387-394).

For additional information, contact R. Irkin, Balikesir University, Susurluk College, TR-10600 Balikesir, Turkey.

From the May 11, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition