Use of Antimicrobial and Genotoxicity Potentiality for Evaluation of Essential Oils as Food Preservatives

Hend A. Hamedo, * Open Modal , 1 Hala M. Abdelmigid, * Open Modal , 2 Authors Info & Affiliations
The Open Biotechnology Journal 26 June 2009 REVIEW ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874070700903010050


In this study, investigations were carried out to assess the efficiency of two plant essential oils; rosemary and oregano as natural food preservatives. The effect of the plant essential oils at concentrations of 0.1%, 0.5% and 1% was studied in the soft cheese against Salmonella enteritidis and Escherichia coli at fridge temprature over a 14-day period. The essential oils performed well in the inhibition of S. enteritidis and E. coli. It is concluded that selected plant essential oils can act as potent inhibitors of both microorganisms in a food product. At the same time, evaluation of their safety as food preservatives was undertaken via monitoring the genotoxic activity of the mentioned essential oils using Vicia faba test. Vicia faba roots were treated with the above concentrations for 3 hours. Results revealed cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of the applied doses. Mitotic index decreased significantly when compared to control. Chromosomal abnormalities and micronuclei were also observed and the effects were dose-dependent. Despite the efficient role of the studied oils as antimicrobial agents, their genotoxicity potential in eukaryotic cells made them unacceptable as food preservatives, particularly at high doses. Therefore, more research in the use of essential oils as food preservatives is needed.

Keywords: Antimicrobial activity, Salmonella enteritidis, Escherichia coli, natural food preservative, rosemary oil, oregano oil, genotoxicity, Vicia faba test.
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