Solid and vapor phase anti-microbial activities of six essential oils susceptibility of selected food borne bacterial and fungal strains

Author(s): Lopez P, Sanchez K, Batlle R, Nerin C


The antimicrobial activity of essential oils (EOs) of cinnamon (Cinnamon zeylanicum), clove (Syzygium aromaticum), basil (Ocimum basillicum), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), dill (Anethum graveolens), and ginger (Zingiber officinalis) was evaluated over a range of concentrations in two types of contact tests (solid and vapor diffusion). The EOs were tested against an array of four Gram-positive bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Enterococcus faecalis, and Listeria monocytogenes), four Gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli, Yersinia enterocolitica, Salmonella choleraesuis, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa), and three fungi (a yeast, Candida albicans, and two molds, Penicillium islandicum and Aspergillus flavus). The rationale for this work was to test the possibility of creating a protective atmosphere by using natural compounds that could extend the shelf life of packaged foodstuffs while minimizing organoleptic alterations. In the solid diffusion tests, cinnamon and clove gave the strongest (and very similar) inhibition, followed by basil and rosemary, with dill and ginger giving the weakest inhibition. The fungi were the most sensitive microorganisms, followed by the Gram-positive bacterial strains. The Gram-negative strain P. aeruginosa was the least inhibited. The composition of the atmosphere generated by the EOs, and their minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs), were determined using a disk volatilization method, in which no inhibition from rosemary or basil was observed. Cinnamon and clove, once again, gave similar results for every microorganism. As a general rule, MIC (fungi) << MIC (bacteria) with no clear differences between Gram-positive or -negative strains except for P. aeruginosa, which was not inhibited by any of the EOs in the vapor phase. The atmosphere generated from the EOs was analyzed by means of solid-phase microextraction combined with gas chromatography-ion trap mass spectrometry. Differences among the volatiles in the EOs, which may be responsible for the differences in their antimicrobial performances, were found.

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