Antimicrobial activity of essential oil components against potential food spoilage microorganisms

Klein G, Rüben C, Upmann M
Current Microbiology, 2013


The antimicrobial activity of six essential oil components against the potential food spoilage bacteria Aeromonas (A.) hydrophilaEscherichia (E.) coliBrochothrix (B.) thermosphacta, andPseudomonas (P.) fragi at single use and in combination with each other was investigated. At single use, the most effective oil components were thymol (bacteriostatic effect starting from 40 ppm, bactericidal effect with 100 ppm) and carvacrol (50 ppm/100 ppm), followed by linalool (180 ppm/720 ppm), α-pinene (400 ppm/no bactericidal effect), 1,8-cineol (1,400 ppm/2,800 ppm), and α-terpineol (600 ppm/no bactericidal effect). Antimicrobial effects occurred only at high, sensorial not acceptable concentrations. The most susceptible bacterium was A. hydrophila, followed by B. thermosphacta and E. coli. Most of the essential oil component combinations tested showed a higher antimicrobial effect than tested at single use. Antagonistic antimicrobial effects were observed particularly against B. thermosphacta, rarely against A. hydrophila. The results show that the concentration of at least one of the components necessary for an antibacterial effect is higher than sensorial acceptable. So the use of herbs with a high content of thymol, carvacrol, linalool, 1,8-cineol, α-pinene or α-terpineol alone or in combination must be weighted against sensorial quality.


Klein G, Rüben C, Upmann M. Antimicrobial activity of essential oil components against potential food spoilage microorganisms. Curr Microbiol. 2013;67(2):200-208.

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