Various essential oils have the potential as food antimicrobials and antioxidants. A recent concept for industrial exploitation for food preservation involves the use of essential oils in the gas or vapour phase, making them applicable in packaged food to modify the atmosphere. Once optimised, this approach is seen as a promising strategy for prolonging shelf life.
In contrast to well-established assay methods for testing antimicrobial susceptibility in solid (agar disc diffusion) and liquid (MIC by broth microdilution) media, there are no standardised methods for determining microbial sensitivity to volatile compounds in the vapour phase. The ISI laboratory has recently developed a test system capable of assessing the industrial potential of essential oils (EOs) against relevant spoilage microorganisms and food pathogenic bacteria. This system allows high throughput, enabling extensive screening with a broad range of EOs to be performed, and hereby fast optimisation for industrial exploitation.
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