Interference of heating on the antimicrobial activity and chemical composition of Origanum vulgare L. (Lamiaceae) essential oil


Ciência e Tecnologia de Alimentos




Origanum vulgare L. (oregano), Lamiaceae, essential oil has a variety of biological properties and its antimicrobial activity has received a renewed interest for use in food conservation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the interference of heating on the antimicrobial activity and chemical composition of O. vulgare essential oil. The antimicrobial activity of the essential oil kept at room temperature and exposed to different heating temperatures (60, 80, 100 and 120 °C during 1 hour) was evaluated by observing antimicrobial effectiveness at absolute concentration and determining MIC values by the solid medium diffusion procedure. The essential oil chemical composition analysis was performed by GC-MS. O. vulgare essential oil showed interesting antimicrobial activity on all assayed microbial strains (Candida albicans, C.krusei, C. tropicalis, Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Yersinia enterocolitica, Salmonella enterica, Serratia marcencens), noted by large growth inhibition zones (30-42 mm). Heating treatment showed no significant interference (p < 0.05) on the essential oil antimicrobial activity, noted by the development of microbial growth inhibition zones with similar or close diameters when evaluating the essential oil kept at room temperature and after exposure to different thermal treatments. MIC values oscillated between 10and 40 µL.mL-1 (20µL.mL-1 for most strains). However, no significant difference (p < 0.05) was noted among the MIC values found for the essential oil aliquots exposed to different temperatures. Moreover, heating did not significantly (p < 0.05) affect the chemical composition of O. vulgare essential oil. Monoterpenes, terpenic compounds and sesquiterpenes were found in the essential oil, with carvacrol (68.06-70.27%) and p-cymene (12.85-15.81%) being the compounds found in the highest amounts. These results showed the thermal stability and intense antimicrobial properties of O. vulgare essential oil and support its possible concomitant use with heating temperatures in order to reach microbial safety in foods.


origanum vulgare l. essential oil heating antimicrobial activity chemical composition

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