October 23, 2021

Essential Oils Protect Against Bacteria

A literature review by Korean researchers published in Trends in Food Science & Technology has found that essential oils are potential antimicrobial agents in meat and meat products. Scientists have found that plant-derived essential oils protect against spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms in meat and meat products.

Food Poisoning OutbreaksThe use of these products is limited because of their intense smell, and these compounds are volatile at room temperature. Phenolic compounds of essential oils that were extracted from rosemary, oregano, clove, ginger, thyme, and coriander could extend the shelf life of meats. The oils degrade the cell walls of pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli.

Other studies have shown similar results. Essential oils have been used for years for respiratory tract infections, especially bronchitis and sinusitis. Terpenes and terpenoids are some of the components derived from essential oils. They could act as biopreservatives, according to another study published by the National Institutes of Health in April 2012.

This research helps shed light on how marinating meats could reduce the pathogenic bacteria load. A study published in technology in the EU found that a red wine base marinade with 0.5% oregano essential oil reduced the pH of meat and was effective against meat spoilage microorganisms and pathogen population. Marination reduced the levels of Salmonella Typhimurium and the background flora of beef. Thyme essential oil also affected Salmonella bacteria survival.

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