Preserving Food with Essential Oils

Preserving Food with Essential Oils

Author: Melania Tesio

Essential oils, volatile plant secondary metabolites, possess antimicrobial properties. Thus, they can be used as natural preservatives to prevent the growth of pathogenic microorganisms contaminating food.

Je-Hyuk Lee and colleagues, Duksung Women’s University, Seoul, Korea, investigated the antibacteric effects of the essential oil derived from Zanthoxylum piperitum A.P. DC, a plant belonging to the Rutaceae family. All the oil’s components, namely limonene, α-pinene, geranyl acetate, citronellal, and γ-terpinene, were active against bacteria belonging to the Bacillus specie. With the exception of γ-terpinene, all the other compounds inhibited also the growth of several other foodborne pathogens like Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Aeromonas hydrophila, Vibrio vulnificus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Limonene and α-pinene, moreover, were as well effective against the bacteria Salmonella.

Due its broad and potent antibacterial activity, Zanthoxylum piperitum’s essential oil may thus be a valuable food preservative.


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