Research – Eugenol as an antimicrobial wash treatment reduces Campylobacter jejuni in postharvest poultry

Wiley Online


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The efficacy of the natural plant‐derived compound, eugenol (EG), as an antimicrobial wash treatment to reduce Campylobacter jejuni in postharvest poultry was investigated. The antimicrobial efficacy of EG was studied as a suspension, emulsion, or nanoemulsion treatment (two trials each). In each trial, chicken skin samples were inoculated with C. jejuni (∼7.2 Log CFU/sample), washed with treatments (0, 0.125, 0.25, 0.5, 1, or 2% EG corresponds to 0, 7.61, 15.22, 30.45, 60.90, or 121.8 mM, respectively) for 1 min, drip dried for 2 min, and then processed at 0, 8, and 24 hr of refrigerated storage (n = 5 samples/treatment/time point). All doses of the EG suspension consistently reduced C. jejuni counts with the greatest reduction (>2.0 Log CFU/sample) for the 2% dose when compared with controls (p < .05). EG emulsions or nanoemulsions did not provide any additional reduction in C. jejuni when compared to EG suspension. Our results suggest that EG could be an effective postharvest intervention strategy for reducing C. jejuni contamination on poultry products.

Practical Applications

Campylobacter jejuni, a leading cause of foodborne illness in humans, is strongly associated with the consumption of contaminated poultry products. Interventions reducing C. jejuni contamination in poultry would reduce the risk of subsequent human infections. In this study, the antimicrobial efficacy of eugenol was studied in three different delivery systems; suspension, emulsion, or nanoemulsion. Our results demonstrated that eugenol was effective in reducing C. jejuni counts on chicken skin and can be used as a potential strategy to reduce Campylobacter on poultry products.

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