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      Essential Oils in Food Preservation: Mode of Action, Synergies, and Interactions with Food Matrix Components

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          Abstract

          Essential oils are aromatic and volatile liquids extracted from plants. The chemicals in essential oils are secondary metabolites, which play an important role in plant defense as they often possess antimicrobial properties. The interest in essential oils and their application in food preservation has been amplified in recent years by an increasingly negative consumer perception of synthetic preservatives. Furthermore, food-borne diseases are a growing public health problem worldwide, calling for more effective preservation strategies. The antibacterial properties of essential oils and their constituents have been documented extensively. Pioneering work has also elucidated the mode of action of a few essential oil constituents, but detailed knowledge about most of the compounds’ mode of action is still lacking. This knowledge is particularly important to predict their effect on different microorganisms, how they interact with food matrix components, and how they work in combination with other antimicrobial compounds. The main obstacle for using essential oil constituents as food preservatives is that they are most often not potent enough as single components, and they cause negative organoleptic effects when added in sufficient amounts to provide an antimicrobial effect. Exploiting synergies between several compounds has been suggested as a solution to this problem. However, little is known about which interactions lead to synergistic, additive, or antagonistic effects. Such knowledge could contribute to design of new and more potent antimicrobial blends, and to understand the interplay between the constituents of crude essential oils. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of current knowledge about the antibacterial properties and antibacterial mode of action of essential oils and their constituents, and to identify research avenues that can facilitate implementation of essential oils as natural preservatives in foods.

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          Most cited references164

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          Molecular chaperones in protein folding and proteostasis.

          Most proteins must fold into defined three-dimensional structures to gain functional activity. But in the cellular environment, newly synthesized proteins are at great risk of aberrant folding and aggregation, potentially forming toxic species. To avoid these dangers, cells invest in a complex network of molecular chaperones, which use ingenious mechanisms to prevent aggregation and promote efficient folding. Because protein molecules are highly dynamic, constant chaperone surveillance is required to ensure protein homeostasis (proteostasis). Recent advances suggest that an age-related decline in proteostasis capacity allows the manifestation of various protein-aggregation diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Interventions in these and numerous other pathological states may spring from a detailed understanding of the pathways underlying proteome maintenance.
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            Antimicrobial agents from plants: antibacterial activity of plant volatile oils.

            The volatile oils of black pepper [Piper nigrum L. (Piperaceae)], clove [Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & Perry (Myrtaceae)], geranium [Pelargonium graveolens L'Herit (Geraniaceae)], nutmeg [Myristica fragrans Houtt. (Myristicaceae), oregano [Origanum vulgare ssp. hirtum (Link) Letsw. (Lamiaceae)] and thyme [Thymus vulgaris L. (Lamiaceae)] were assessed for antibacterial activity against 25 different genera of bacteria. These included animal and plant pathogens, food poisoning and spoilage bacteria. The volatile oils exhibited considerable inhibitory effects against all the organisms under test while their major components demonstrated various degrees of growth inhibition.
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              Bacteriocins: developing innate immunity for food.

              Bacteriocins are bacterially produced antimicrobial peptides with narrow or broad host ranges. Many bacteriocins are produced by food-grade lactic acid bacteria, a phenomenon which offers food scientists the possibility of directing or preventing the development of specific bacterial species in food. This can be particularly useful in preservation or food safety applications, but also has implications for the development of desirable flora in fermented food. In this sense, bacteriocins can be used to confer a rudimentary form of innate immunity to foodstuffs, helping processors extend their control over the food flora long after manufacture.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Front Microbiol
                Front. Microbio.
                Frontiers in Microbiology
                Frontiers Research Foundation
                1664-302X
                25 January 2012
                2012
                : 3
                : 12
                Affiliations
                [1] 1simpleInterdisciplinary Nanoscience Center, Aarhus University Aarhus C, Denmark
                [2] 2simpleDepartment of Bioscience, Aarhus University Aarhus C, Denmark
                [3] 3simpleDanisco A/S, Brabrand Denmark
                Author notes

                Edited by: Mirian A. F. Hayashi, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil

                Reviewed by: Charles Knapp, University of Strathclyde, UK; Dmitri Debabov, NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, USA

                *Correspondence: Rikke Louise Meyer, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade, Building 540, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. e-mail: rikke.meyer@ 123456inano.au.dk

                This article was submitted to Frontiers in Antimicrobials, Resistance and Chemotherapy, a specialty of Frontiers in Microbiology.

                Article
                10.3389/fmicb.2012.00012
                3265747
                22291693
                3f333d93-0b30-4132-a743-1a7aec0a8ffd
                Copyright © 2012 Hyldgaard, Mygind and Meyer.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.

                History
                : 01 December 2011
                : 09 January 2012
                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 192, Pages: 24, Words: 18935
                Categories
                Microbiology
                Review Article

                Microbiology & Virology
                terpenoids,thymol,phenylpropenes,carvacrol,antimicrobial,synergy,terpenes,mode of action

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