Research – Potential of Essential Oils in the Control of Listeria monocytogenes



Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen, the causative agent of listeriosis. Infections typically occur through consumption of foods, such as meats, fisheries, milk, vegetables, and fruits. Today, chemical preservatives are used in foods; however, due to their effects on human health, attention is increasingly turning to natural decontamination practices. One option is the application of essential oils (EOs) with antibacterial features, since EOs are considered by many authorities as being safe. In this review, we aimed to summarize the results of recent research focusing on EOs with anti listerial activity. We review different methods via which the anti listerial effect and the antimicrobial mode of action of EOs or their compounds can be investigated. In the second part of the review, results of those studies from the last 10 years are summarized, in which EOs with anti listerial effects were applied in and on different food matrices. This section only included those studies in which EOs or their pure compounds were tested alone, without combining them with any additional physical or chemical procedure or additive. Tests were performed at different temperatures and, in certain cases, by applying different coating materials. Although certain coatings can enhance the anti listerial effect of an EO, the most effective way is to mix the EO into the food matrix. In conclusion, the application of EOs is justified in the food industry as food preservatives and could help to eliminate this zoonotic bacterium from the food chain.

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