Use of plant-derived essential oil compounds and naturally-occurring apple flavor compounds to control foodborne pathogens in apple juice
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Recent demands for minimally-processed foods, has led to the exploration of plant-derived essential oil (EO) compounds as an alternative means of preservation. While some of these compounds are effective against foodborne pathogens, their strong aroma and "spicy" flavor are not compatible with the flavor of juice. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the antimicrobial activity of three EO compounds (thymol, eugenol, and trans-cinnamaldehyde) alone and in combination with three naturally-occurring apple aroma compounds (hexanal, trans-2-hexenal and 1-hexanol) in order to identify combinations that lower the concentrations needed to destroy foodborne pathogens in apple juice. The standard agar dilution method (SAD) and the Spiral Gradient Endpoint method (SGE) were compared for their abilities to determine minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of the EO compounds. Both methods produced similar patterns of inhibition; however, the MICs produced by the SGE system were significantly higher than those produced by the SAD method of analysis (P<0.05). Since the results produced by the SAD method were more comparable with those published in literature, this method was selected for further testing. In general, the EO compounds were significantly more effective against the test pathogens (Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella Typhimurium and Staphylococcus aurues) than were the apple aroma compounds (P<0.05). Cinnamaldehye exhibited the highest degree of activity, followed by thymol and eugenol. Eugenol was the only compound that acted synergistically with the apple aroma compounds. The most effective compounds (cinnamaldehyde, eugenol and trans-2-hexenal) were then used to inactivate L. monocytogens and S. Typhimurium in preservative-free apple juice. In most cases, treatment with 0.05% of each compound resulted in a 5 log CFU/ml reduction in bacterial numbers following one day of storage at 4°C or 25°C. Likewise, treatment with antimicrobial combinations (containing 0.025% of trans-2-hexenal in combination with 0.025% trans-cinnamaldehyde or eugenol) also resulted in a 5 log CFU/ml reduction in bacterial numbers, following one day of storage at 4°C or 25°C. Since these combinations contained half the effective concentration of the essential oil compounds, they may be used to preserve the microbial quality of apple juice, while reducing the likelihood of off flavors in the final juice product.
- Doctoral Dissertations