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Grain & Oil Science and Technology
Volume 2 (2), 2019, Pages 49-55

Role of essential oils in food safety: Antimicrobial and antioxidant applications

Sundaresan Bhavaniramyaa, Selvaraju Vishnupriyaa, Mohammad Saleh Al-Aboodyb, Rajendran Vijayakumarb, Dharmar Baskarana

College of Food and Dairy Technology, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chennai 600052, India.


Essential oils (EOs) are more complex and comprise a number of volatile and natural bioactive compounds, which often used in food industries as the best alternatives. This review focuses on the impact of EOs and the roles of their major components in food manufacturing as natural preservatives with the related mechanisms of action. In addition, the major bioactive molecules of different types of EOs and their pharmacological activities such as antioxidant, antifungal and antimicrobial effects on crop protection were also discussed. The major compounds of EOs represent potential antioxidant, antimicrobial and antifungal activities through various mechanisms. Different types of EOs such as tea tree oil, lemon oil, clove oil, cinnamon oil and thyme oil from various traditional plants, have significantly showed better antimicrobial and antioxidant activities, and also effectively increased the shelf lives of the cereal products and increased the quality of food safety. The major groups of EOs such as terpenes and aromatic volatile compounds, play a key role in food safety without affecting the quality. Due to their various activities including antioxidant and antimicrobial activities, EOs could be used as alternative preservatives to increase the shelf lives of cereals and crops.

Keywords: Essential oils, Terpenes, Phenol, Food spoilage, Preservatives, Antimicrobial activity.

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