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Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils from Plants against Selected Pathogenic and Saprophytic Microorganisms

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The beneficial health effects of extracts from many types of plants that are used as seasoning agents in foods and beverages have been claimed for centuries. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of selected herb and spice essential oils for control of growth and survival of microorganisms. Inhibition of growth was tested by the paper disc agar diffusion method. Antibiotic susceptibility discs were used as control. Minimum lethal concentration (MLC) was determined by the tube dilution method. Essential oils from anise, angelica, basil, carrot, celery, cardamom, coriander, dill weed, fennel, oregano, parsley, and rosemary were evaluated. Inhibition ranged from complete with oregano to no inhibition with carrot oil for each of the test strains that included: Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli O:157:H7, Yersinia enterocolitica, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Lactobacillus plantarum, Aspergillus niger, Geotrichum, and Rhodotorula. Oregano essential oil showed the greatest inhibition (zone, ≥70 to 80 mm) (MLC, inhibitory (MLC, 25 to 50 ppm) to E. coli O:157:H7 and to the other bacteria and fungi tested. Anise oil was not particularly inhibitory to bacteria (inhibition zone, 25 mm); however, anise oil was highly inhibitory to molds. Because some of the herbal and spice essential oils are highly inhibitory to selected pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms, they may provide alternatives and supplements to conventional antimicrobial additives in foods. 8 ppm). Coriander and basil were also highly


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station, Department of Food Science and Technology, 2605 River Drive, Food Safety Center, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37919, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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    The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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