Antimicrobial activity of natural antimicrobial substances against spoilage bacteria isolated from fresh produce
Ling Zheng, Young-Min Bae, Kyu-Seok Jung, Sunggi Heu, Sun-Young Lee
Department of Food Science and Technology, Chung-Ang University, 72-1 Nae-ri, Daedeok-myeon, Anseong-si, Gyeonggi-do 456-756, Republic of Korea.
The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of natural antimicrobial substances for inhibiting vegetable spoilage bacteria. Natural antimicrobial compounds (carvacrol, thymol, eugenol, cinnamic acid, nisin, and chitosan), organic acids (acetic acid and lactic acid), and chemical sanitizers (sodium hypochlorite and chlorine dioxide) were evaluated for their antibacterial activities, as single and combination treatments, against 15 spoilage bacteria isolated from vegetables, using the agar disc diffusion and broth dilution methods. Carvacrol, thymol, and eugenol showed strong inhibitory effects compared to those of the other antimicrobial substances, and their average minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values against 15 spoilage bacteria were 167, 648, and 168 μg/ml, respectively. When they were combined, four kinds (carvacrol + thymol, carvacrol + eugenol, thymol + eugenol, and carvarol + thymol + eugenol) of the combination formulas showed higher antibacterial effect than others against spoilage bacteria, with average MIC values of 47, 43, 59, and 42 μg/ml, respectively. However, two combinations (carvacrol + thymol, and carvacrol + thymol + eugenol) showed the strongest inhibitory effects against bacteria in fresh vegetables among all treatments. These results could be used for the development of new sanitation or preservation methods to improve freshness and to extend the shelf-life of fresh produce.