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Essential Oils: Extraction, Bioactivities, and Their
Uses for Food Preservation
Phakawat Tongnuanchan and Soottawat Benjakul
Abstract: Essential oils are concentrated liquids of complex mixtures of volatile compounds and can be extracted from
several plant organs. Essential oils are a good source of several bioactive compounds, which possess antioxidative and
antimicrobial properties. In addition, some essential oils have been used as medicine. Furthermore, the uses of essential oils
have received increasing attention as the natural additives for the shelf-life extension of food products, due to the risk in
using synthetic preservatives. Essential oils can be incorporated into packaging, in which they can provide multifunctions
termed active or smart packaging. Those essential oils are able to modify the matrix of packaging materials, thereby
rendering the improved properties. This review covers up-to-date literatures on essential oils including sources, chemical
composition, extraction methods, bioactivities, and their applications, particularly with the emphasis on preservation and
the shelf-life extension of food products.
Keywords: antimicrobial, antioxidant, biodegradable lm, essential oil, food product, volatile compound
Introduction
Essential oils, also called volatile odoriferous oil, are aromatic
oily liquids extracted from different parts of plants, for example,
leaves, peels, barks, owers, buds, seeds, and so on. They can be
extracted from plant materials by several methods, steam distil-
lation, expression, and so on. Among all methods, for example,
steam distillation method has been widely used, especially for
commercial scale production (Cassel and Vargas 2006; Di Leo Lira
and others 2009). Essential oils have been widely used as food
avors (Burt 2004). Essential oils found in many different plants,
especially the aromatic plants, vary in odor and avor, which are
governed by the types and amount of constituents present in oils.
Additionally, the amount of essential oil from different plants is
different and this determines the price of essential oil. Apart from
aromatic compounds, indigenous pigments contribute to varying
colors of essential oil. This can affect the applications as the in-
gredient in some particular foods. Essential oils have been known
to possess antioxidant and antimicrobial activities, thereby serving
as natural additives in foods and food products. It can be used as
active compounds in packaging materials, in which the proper-
ties of those materials, particularly water vapor barrier property
associated with hydrophobicity in nature of essential oils, can be
improved. Almost any part of a plant may be the source of the oil,
which could be extracted and fully exploited for food applications
or others. Modern technologies have been continuously devel-
oped to conquer the limitation of conventional methods, and to
enhance the extraction efcacy. Due to the increasing attention
in natural additives, essential oils from several plants have been
used more widely, especially in conjunction with other preserva-
tions under concept of hurdle technology. Thus, essential oils
can serve as the alternative additives or processing aid as green
technology.
MS 20131520 Submitted 10/23/2013, Accepted 4/9/2014. Authors are with
Dept. of Food Technology, Faculty of Agro-Industry, Prince of Songkla Univ., 15
Kanchanawanish Road, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90112, Thailand. Direct inquiries to
author Benjakul (E-mail: soottawat.b@psu.ac.th).
Sources and Chemical Composition
Several plants contain essential oils, however, parts of plants,
which serve as the major source of essential oil can be different
(Table 1). Those include roots, peels, leaves, seeds, fruits, barks, and
so on. Plant essential oils are usually the complex mixture of nat-
ural compounds, both polar and nonpolar compounds (Masango
2005). Dominant compounds in various essential oils are pre-
sented in Table 2. In general, the constituents in essential oils are
terpenes (monoterpenes and sesquerpenes), aromatic compounds
(aldehyde, alcohol, phenol, methoxy derivative, and so on), and
terpenoids (isoprenoids) (Bakkali and others 2008; Mohamed and
others 2010). Compounds and aroma of essential oils can be di-
vided into 2 major groups: terpene hydrocarbons and oxygenated
compounds.
Terpene hydrocarbons
The hydrocarbons are the molecule, constituting of H and C
atoms arranged in chains. These hydrocarbons may be acyclic, al-
icyclic (monocyclic, bicyclic, or tricyclic), or aromatic. Terpenes
are the most common class of chemical compounds found in essen-
tial oils. Terpenes are made from isoprene units (several 5 carbon
base units, C
5
), which are the combinations of 2 isoprene units,
called a terpene unit. Essential oils consist of mainly monoter-
penes (C
10
) and sesquiterpenes (C
15
), which are hydrocarbons
with the general formula (C
5
H
8
)
n
. The diterpenes (C
20
), triter-
penes (C
30
), and tetraterpenes (C
40
) exist in essential oils at low
concentration (Mohamed and others 2010). Terpenoids (a terpene
containing oxygen) is also found in essential oils (Burt 2004).
Essential oils mostly contain monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes,
which are C
10
H
16
(M
W
136 amu) and C
15
H
24
(M
W
204 amu), re-
spectively. Although sesquiterpenes are larger in molecules, struc-
ture and functional properties of sesquiterpenes are similar to
the monoterpenes (Ruberto and Baratta 2000). For diterpenes,
triterpenes, and tetraterpenes, they have the larger molecule than
monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, but they are present at very low
concentration in essential oils (Bakkali and others 2008).
Oxygenated compounds
These compounds are the combination of C, H, and O,
and there are a variety of compounds found in essential oils.
C
2014 Institute of Food Technologists
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doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12492 Vol. 79, Nr. 7, 2014
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Journal of Food Science R1231
Further reproduction without permission is prohibited
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Bioactivities and applications of essential oils . . .
Table 1Parts of plant material containing essential oils.
Parts Plants
Leaves Basil, bay leaf, cinnamon, common sage, eucalyptus, lemon grass, citronella, melaleuca, mint, oregano, patchouli, peppermint, pine,
rosemary, spearmint, tea tree, thyme, wintergreen, kafr lime, laurel, savory, tarragon, cajuput, lantana, lemon myrtle, lemon
teatree, niaouli, may chang, petitgrain, laurel, cypress
Seeds Almond, anise, cardamom, caraway, carrot celery, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, parsley, fennel
Wood Amyris, atlas cedarwood, himalayan cedarwood, camphor, rosewood, sandalwood, myrtle, guaiac wood
Bark Cassia, cinnamon, sassafras, katrafay
Berries Allspice, juniper
Resin Frankincense, myrrh
Flowers Blue tansy, chamomile, clary sage, clove, cumin, geranium, helichrysum hyssop, jasmine, lavender, manuka, marjoram, orange, rose,
baccharises, palmarosa, patchouli, rhododendron anthopogon, rosalina, ajowan, ylang-ylang, marjoram sylvestris, tarragon,
immortelle, neroli
Peel Bergamot, grapefruit, kafr lime, lemon, lime, orange, tangerine, mandarin
Root Ginger, plai, turmeric, valerian, vetiver, spikenard, angelica
Fruits Xanthoxylum, nutmeg, black pepper
Oxygenated compounds can be derived from the terpenes, in
which they are termed terpenoids. Some oxygenated com-
pounds prevalent in plant essential oils are shown as follows:
- Phenols: thymol, eugenol, carvacrol, chavicol, thymol, and so on.
- Alcohols:
Monoterpene alcohol: borneol, isopulegol, lavanduol, -
terpineol, and so on.
Sesquiterpenes alcohol: elemol, nerolidol, santalol, -santalol, and
so on.
- Aldehydes: citral, myrtenal, cuminaldehyde, citronellal, cin-
namaldehyde, benzaldehyde, and so on.
- Ketones: carvone, menthone, pulegone, fenchone, camphor, thu-
jone, verbenone, and so on.
- Esters: bomyl acetate, linalyl acetate, citronellyl acetate, geranyl
acetate, and so on.
- Oxides: 1,8-cineole, bisabolone oxide, linalool oxide, sclareol
oxide, and so on.
- Lactones: bergaptene, nepetalactone, psoralen, aesculatine, cit-
roptene, and so on.
- Ethers: 1,8-cineole, anethole, elemicin, myristicin, and so on.
Different constituents in essential oils exhibit varying smell or
avor (Burt 2004). Also, the perception of individual volatile com-
pounds depends on their threshold.
Extraction of Essential Oils
Essential oils can be extracted from several plants with differ-
ent parts by various extraction methods. The manufacturing of
essential oils, and the method used for essential oil extraction are
normally dependent on botanical material used. State and form
of material is another factor used for consideration. Extraction
method is one of prime factors that determine the quality of
essential oil. Inappropriate extraction procedure can lead to the
damage or alter action of chemical signature of essential oil. This
results in the loss in bioactivity and natural characteristics. For se-
vere case, discoloration, off-odor/avor as well as physical change
such as the increased viscosity can occur. Those changes in ex-
tracted essential oil must be avoided. Extraction of essential oils
can be carried out by various means, as shown in Table 3.
Distillation
Steam distillation. Steam distillation is the most widely used
method for plant essential oil extraction (Reverchon and Senatore
1992). The proportion of essential oils extracted by steam distilla-
tion is 93% and the remaining 7% can be further extracted by other
methods (Masango 2005). Basically, the plant sample is placed in
boiling water or heated by steam (Figure 1). The heat applied is
the main cause of burst and break down of cell structure of plant
material. As a consequence, the aromatic compounds or essential
oils from plant material are released (Perineau and others 1992;
Babu and Kaul 2005). The temperature of heating must be enough
to break down the plant material and release aromatic compound
or essential oil. A new process design and operation for steam
distillation of essential oils to increase oil yield and reduce the
loss of polar compounds in wastewater was developed by Masango
(2005). The system consists of a packed bed of the plant materi-
als, which sits above the steam source. Only steam passes through
it and the boiling water is not mixed with plant material. Thus,
the process requires the minimum amount of steam in the process
and the amount of water in the distillate is reduced. Also, water-
soluble compounds are dissolved into the aqueous fraction of the
condensate at a lower extent (Masango 2005). Yildirim and others
(2004) reported that the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picryl hydrazyl (DPPH)
radical scavenging activities of essential oils from steam distillation
process were markedly higher than those of oils extracted using
hydrodistillation (HD).
Hydrodistillation. HD has become the standard method of
essential oil extraction from plant material such as wood or ower,
which is often used to isolate nonwater-soluble natural products
with high boiling point. The process involves the complete immer-
sion of plant materials in water, followed by boiling. This method
protects the oils extracted to a certain degree since the surround-
ing water acts as a barrier to prevent it from overheating. The
steam and essential oil vapor are condensed to an aqueous fraction
(Figure 2). The advantage of this technique is that the required
material can be distilled at a temperature below 100 C. Okoh
and others (2010) studied the different extraction processes on
yield and properties of essential oil from rosemary (Rosmarinus of-
cinalis L.) by HD and solvent-free microwave extraction (SFME).
The total yields of the volatile fractions obtained through HD
and SFME were 0.31% and 0.39%, respectively. HD oil contained
more monoterpene hydrocarbons (32.95%) than SFME-extracted
oil (25.77%), while higher amounts of oxygenated monoterpenes
(28.6%) were present in the oil extracted by SFME in compar-
ison with HD (26.98%). Golmakani and Rezaei (2008) studied
the microwave-assisted HD (MAHD), which is an advanced HD
technique utilizing a microwave oven in the extraction process.
MAHD was superior in terms of saving energy and extraction time
R1232 Journal of Food Science
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Bioactivities and applications of essential oils . . .
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Vol. 79, Nr. 7, 2014
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Journal of Food Science R1233
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Bioactivities and applications of essential oils . . .
Table 3Extraction of essential oils from various sources using several methods.
Extraction methods Plants References
Solvent extraction Solvent sage (Salvia ofcinalis), apiaceae (Ptychotis verticillata), chasteberry
(Vitexagnuscastus L.), lemon (Citrus x limon)
Durling and others (2007); Matsingou and others (2003);
El Ouariachi and others (2011); Sarikurkcu and others
(2009); Koshima and others (2012)
Supercritical CO
2
rosemary (Rosmarinus ofcinalis), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), anise
(Pimpinella anisum), cumin seed (Cuminum cyminum), sage
(Salvia ofcinalis), lemon (Citrus x limon), carrot fruit (Daucus
carrota L.), marjoram (Majorana hortensis Moench), catnip
(Nepeta cataria L.), oregano (Origanum vulgare L.), lavender
(Lavandula angustifolia Mill), thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.),
hyssop (Hyssopus ofcinalis L.), anise hyssop (Lophantus anisatus
Benth), patchouli (Pogostemon cablin), cumin (Cuminum
cyminum), clove (Eugenia caryophyllata), coriander (Coriandrum
sativum L.), chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), baccharises
(Baccharis uncinella, Baccharis anomala, and Baccharis dentata)
Pereira and Meireles (2007); Reverchon and Senatore
(1992); Eikani and others (1999); Djarmati and others
(1991); Gironi and Maschietti (2008); Glisi c and
others (2007); Dapkevicius and others (1998);
Donelian and others (2009); Li and others (2009);
Guan and others (2007); Mhemdi and others (2011);
Araus and others (2009); Xavier and others (2011)
Subcritical water fructus amomi, marjoram (Origanum majorana), olive (Olea
europaea), coriander seeds (Coriandrum sativum L.)
Deng and others (2005); Jimenez-Carmona and others
(1999); Amarni and Kadi (2010); Eikani and others
(2007)
Distillation - Steam rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium sp.), thyme (Thymus
kotschyanus), germander (Teucrium orientale), rosemary
(Rosmarinus ofcinalis), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), anise
(Pimpinella anisum), eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora), basil
(Ocimum basilicum L.), lavender (Lavandula dentata L.),
patchouli (Pogostemon cablin), clove (Eugenia caryophyllata),
orange (Citrus sinensis)
Babu and Kaul (2005); Sedkon and others (1999);
Yildirim and others (2004); Pereira and Meireles
(2007); Rajeswara Rao and others (2003); Cassel and
others (2009); Donelian and others (2009); Guan and
others (2007); Farhat and others (2011)
Hydrodistillation rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium sp.), germander (Teucrium
orientale), rosemary (Rosmarinus ofcinalis), lemon (Citrus x
limon), oregano (Origanum vulgare L.), marjoram (Majorana
hortensis Moench), catnip (Nepeta cataria L), lavender
(Lavandula angustifolia Mill), hyssop (Hyssopus ofcinalis L.),
anise hyssop (Lophantus anisatus Benth), sage (Salvia ofcinalis
L), cumin (Cuminum cyminum), clove (Eugenia caryophyllata),
caraway (Carum carvi), thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.), basil
(Ocimum basilicum L.), garden mint (Mentha crispa L.)
Babu and Kaul (2005); Yildirim and others (2004);
Reverchon and Senatore (1992); Ferhat and others
(2007); Bayramoglu and others (2008); Dapkevicius
and others (1998); Li and others (2009); Guan and
others (2007); Farhat and others (2010); Gavahian and
others (2012)
Hydrodiffusion orange (Citrus sinensis), rosemary leaves (Rosmarinus ofcinalis) Farhat and others (2011); Bousbia and others (2009)
Solvent-free microwave oregano (Origanum vulgare L.), fragrant fern (Dryopteris fragrans),
rosemary (Rosmarinus ofcinalis), caraway (Carum carvi), 5
avor berry (Schisandra chinensis), cumin (Cuminum cyminum
L.), cardamom (Elletaria cardamomum L.), basil (Ocimum
basilicum L.), garden mint (Mentha crispa L.), thyme (Thymus
vulgaris L.), sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.),
spearmint (Mentha spicata L.), pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium L.)
Bayramoglu and others (2008); Li and others (2012);
Okoh and others (2010); Farhat and others (2010); Ma
and others (2012); Wang and others (2006); Lucchesi
and others (2007); Lucchesi and others (2004); Michel
and others (2011); Vian and others (2008)
Combination methods -
Solvent + Steam
cumin (Cuminum cyminum), tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) Li and others (2009), Zhang and others (2012)
(75 min, compared to 4 h in HD). Ohmic-assisted HD (OAHD)
is another advanced HD technique (Gavahian and others 2012).
OAHD method had the extraction time of 24.75 min, while HD
took 1 h for extraction of essential oil from thyme. No changes
in the compounds of the essential oils obtained by OAHD were
found in comparison with HD.
Hydrodiffusion. Hydrodiffusion extraction is a type of steam
distillation, which is only different in the inlet way of steam into
the container of still. This method is used when the plant material
has been dried and is not damaged at boiling temperature (Vian
and others 2008). For hydrodiffusion, steam is applied from the
top of plant material, whereas steam is entered from the bottom
for steam distillation method. The process can also be operated
under low pressure or vacuum and reduces the steam temperature
to below 100 C. Hydrodiffusion method is superior to steam
distillation because of a shorter processing time and a higher oil
yield with less steamused. Bousbia and others (2009) compared the
HD and innovative microwave hydrodiffusion and gravity (MHG)
methods for their effectiveness in the isolation of essential oil from
rosemary leaves (R. ofcinalis). The MHG method exhibits the
excellent advantages over traditional alternatives including shorter
isolation times (15 min against 3 h for HD), environmental impact
(energy cost is fairly higher to perform HD than that required for
rapid MHG isolation), cleaner features (no residue generation and
no water or solvent used), increased antimicrobial and antioxidant
activities. Farhat and others (2011) studied the microwave steam
diffusion (MSDf), which is an advanced steam diffusion (SDf)
technique utilizing microwave heating process for extraction of
essential oils from by-products of orange peel. The essential oils
extracted by MSDf for 12 min had similar yield and aromatic
prole to those obtained by SDf for 40 min.
Solvent extraction
Solvent. Conventional solvent extraction has been imple-
mented for fragile or delicate ower materials, which are not
tolerant to the heat of steam distillation. Different solvents in-
cluding acetone, hexane, petroleum ether, methanol, or ethanol
can be used for extraction (Areias and others 2000; Pizzale and
others 2002; Kosar and others 2005). For general practice, the
solvent is mixed with the plant material and then heated to ex-
tract the essential oil, followed by ltration. Subsequently, the
ltrate is concentrated by solvent evaporation. The concentrate is
resin (resinoid), or concrete (a combination of wax, fragrance, and
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Bioactivities and applications of essential oils . . .
essential oil). From the concentrate, it is then mixed with pure
alcohol to extract the oil and distilled at low temperatures. The
alcohol absorbs the fragrance and when the alcohol is evaporated,
the aromatic absolute oil is remained. However, this method is a
relatively time-consuming process, thus making the oils more ex-
pensive than other methods (Li and others 2009). Essential oil with
antioxidant activity from Ptychotisverticillata was extracted using
solvent extraction method by El Ouariachi and others (2011).
The oil was dominated by phenolic compounds (48.0%) with car-
vacrol (44.6%) and thymol (3.4%) as the main compounds. Ozen
and others (2011) studied the chemical composition and antioxi-
dant activity of separated essential oils from Thymus praecox subsp.
skorpilii var. skorpilii (TPS) extracted using different solvents. TPS
essential oil was found to contain thymol (40.31%) and o-cymene
(13.66%) as the major components. The ethanol, methanol, and
water extracts exerted signicant free-radical scavenging activity.
The water extract has the highest total phenolics (6.211 mg gal-
lic acid/g dry weight) and avonoids (0.809 mg quercetin/g dry
weight). Moreover, Sarikurkcu and others (2009) reported that
the water extract exhibited higher antioxidant activity than other
extracts (hexane, dichloromethane, ethyl acetate, and methanol).
However, solvent residue could be retained in the nal product
Figure 1Diagrammatic illustration of steam distillation method.
Figure 2Diagrammatic illustration of
hydrodistillation method.
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Bioactivities and applications of essential oils . . .
due to incomplete removal. This may cause allergies, toxicity, and
affect the immune system (Ferhat and others 2007a).
Supercritical carbon dioxide. Conventional methods in-
cluding solvent extraction and steam distillation have some short-
comings such as long preparation time and large amount of or-
ganic solvents (Deng and others 2005). Moreover, the losses of
some volatile compounds, low extraction efciency, degradation
of unsaturated compounds, and toxic solvent residue in the extract
may be encountered (Jimenez-Carmona and others 1999; Glisi ca
and others 2007; Gironi and Maschietti 2008). Therefore, super-
critical uids have been considered as an alternative medium for
essential oil extraction. Carbon dioxide (CO
2
) is the most com-
monly used supercritical uid because of its modest critical condi-
tions (Hawthorne and others 1993; Jimenez-Carmona and others
1999; Senorans and others 2000). Under high-pressure condition,
CO
2
turns into liquid, which can be used as a very inert and
safe medium to extract the aromatic molecules from raw material.
No solvent residue remains in the nal nished product since the
liquid CO
2
simply reverts to a gas and evaporates under normal
atmospheric pressure and temperature. Despite high solubilities of
essential oil components in supercritical CO
2
, the extraction rates
were relatively slow with pure CO
2
(ca. 80% recovery after 90
min) (Hawthorne and others 1993). However, the combination
methods by a 15-min static extraction with methylene chloride
as a modier followed by a 15-min dynamic extraction with pure
CO
2
yielded high recoveries. The extraction efcacy was equiva-
lent to HD, which was performed for 4 h. The volatile compounds
such as monoterpenes can be collected from the supercritical uid
extraction (SFE) efuent by >90%. SFE was able to recover some
organic compounds that were not extracted by HD (Hawthorne
and others 1993). Pereira and Meireles (2007) showed that the
supercritical uid extraction is economically viable than steam dis-
tillation. This is mainly caused by the lower yield and the higher
energy consumption of the latter.
Subcritical water. The subcritical water or pressurized hot
water has been introduced as an extractant under dynamic condi-
tions (pressure high enough to maintain water under liquid state
and temperature in the range of 100 to 374 C). Jimenez-Carmona
and others (1999) reported that the efciency (in terms of volume
of essential oil/1 g of plant) of continuous subcritical water ex-
traction was 5.1 times higher than HD method. This method is
quicker (15 min compared with 3 h), provides a more valuable
essential oil (with higher amounts of oxygenated compounds and
no signicant presence of terpenes), and allows substantial savings
of costs, in terms of both energy and plant material. Kubatova
and others (2001) studied the subcritical water extraction of lac-
tones from a kava (Piper methysticum) root, compared to a Soxhlet
extraction with water. The extraction of ground samples with sub-
critical water at 100 C took 2 h, but the shorter time (20 min)
was required when extraction was carried out at 175 C. Boiling
for 2 h and extraction with Soxhlet apparatus for 6 h showed the
lower yields by 40% to 60%, compared with that obtained using
subcritical water.
Solvent-free microwave
The disadvantages of conventional methods such as solvent or
hydrodiffusion extraction are the losses of some volatile com-
pounds, low extraction efciency, long extraction time, degra-
dation of unsaturated or ester compounds through thermal or
hydrolytic effects, and toxic solvent residue in the extract (Pollien
and others 1998; Luque de Castro and others 1999). These dis-
advantages have led to the consideration of the use of SFME.
It is a rapid extraction of essential oils from aromatic herbs,
spices, and dry seeds. SFME has several advantages, involv-
ing higher yield and selectivity, shorter time, and environmen-
tal friendly (Lopez-Avila and others 1994; Tomaniov a and oth-
ers 1998). SFME is a combination of microwave heating and
dry distillation, performed at atmospheric pressure without any
solvent or water. Isolation and concentration of volatile com-
pounds are performed by a single stage (Lucchesi and others 2004;
Bayramoglu and others 2008). Using oregano as a raw material,
SFME offered signicantly higher essential oil yields (0.054 mL/g),
compared to HD (0.048 mL/g) (Bayramoglu and others 2008).
When microwave power at 662 W was used in SFME, process time
was reduced by 80%, compared with conventional process. Ferhat
and others (2007b) reported that microwave method offers the im-
portant advantages over traditional alternatives, such as shorter ex-
traction times (30 min compared with 3 h for HD and 1 h for cold
pressing [CP]); better yields (0.24% compared with 0.21% for HD
and 0.05% for CP); environmental impact (energy cost is appre-
ciably higher for performing HD and for mechanical motors (CP)
than that required for rapid microwave extraction); cleaner features
(as no residue generation and no water or solvent used); and high
antimicrobial activities. Farhat and others (2010) reported that es-
sential oils of caraway seeds isolated by microwave dry-diffusion
and gravity (MDG) exhibited the similar yield and aromatic prole
to those obtained by HD, but MDG was better than HD in terms
of shorter process time (45 min compared with 300 min), energy
saving, and cleanliness. The present apparatus permits fast and
efcient extraction, reduces waste, avoids water and solvent con-
sumption, and allows substantial energy savings (Farhat and others
2010).
Role of Essential Oils as Food Additives
Essential oils from plants have been known to act as natural
additives, for example, antimicrobial agents, antioxidant, and so on.
Their activities vary with source of plants, chemical composition,
extraction methods, and so on. Due to the unique smell associated
with the volatiles, this may limit the use of essential oil in some
foods since it may alter the typical smell/avor of foods.
Antimicrobial activity
The ability of plant essential oils to protect foods against
pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms has been reported
(Lis-Balchin and others 1998; Friedman 2006; Rojas-Gra u and
others 2007). Among chemical components in several essential
oils, carvacrol has been shown to exert a distinct antimicrobial
action (Veldhuizen and others 2006). Carvacrol is the major com-
ponent of essential oil from oregano (60% to 74% carvacrol) and
thyme (45% carvacrol) (Lagouri and others 1993; Arrebola and
others 1994). It has a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity
against most gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria (Friedman
and others 2002). Carvacrol disintegrates the outer membrane of
gram-negative bacteria, releasing lipopolysaccharides and increas-
ing the permeability of the cytoplasmic membrane to ATP (Burt
2004). For gram-positive bacteria, it is able to interact with the
membranes of bacteria and alter the permeability for cations like
H
+
and K
+
(Veldhuizen and others 2006). In general, the higher
antimicrobial activity of essential oils is observed on gram-positive
bacteria than gram-negative bacteria (Kokoska and others 2002;
Okoh and others 2010). Lipophilic ends of lipoteichoic acids in
cell membrane of gram positive bacteria may facilitate the pen-
etration of hydrophobic compounds of essential oils (Cox and
others 2000). On the other hand, the resistance of gram-negative
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Bioactivities and applications of essential oils . . .
bacteria to essential oils is associated with the protecting role of ex-
trinsic membrane proteins or cell wall lipopolysaccharides, which
limits the diffusion rate of hydrophobic compounds through the
lipopolysaccharide layer (Burt 2004). The dissipation of ion gra-
dients leads to impairment of essential processes in the cell and
nally to cell death (Ultee and others 1999). The cytoplasmic
membrane of bacteria generally has 2 principal functions: (i) bar-
rier function and energy transduction, which allow the membrane
to form ion gradients that can be used to drive various processes,
and (ii) formation of a matrix for membrane-embedded proteins
(such as the membrane-integrated F
0
complex of ATP synthase)
(Sikkema and others 1995; Hensel and others 1996). Antimicro-
bial mechanism of essential oil is proposed as shown in Figure 3.
The activity of the essential oils is related to composition, func-
tional groups, and synergistic interactions between components
(Dorman and Deans 2000). The removal of the aliphatic ring sub-
stituent of carvacrol slightly decreased the antimicrobial activity.
2-Amino--cymene has similar structure to cavacrol, except hy-
droxyl group (Figure 4). The lower activity by 3-fold of 2-amino-
-cymene, as compared to carvacrol, indicates the essential role of
hydroxyl group in antimicrobial activity of carvacrol (Veldhuizen
and others 2006). The hydroxyl group present in the structure of
phenolic compounds confers antimicrobial activity and its relative
position is very crucial for the effectiveness of these natural com-
ponents; this can explain the superior antimicrobial activity of car-
vacrol, compared to other plant phenolics (Veldhuizen and others
2006).
Plant essential oils have been known as antimicrobial agents. Es-
sential oil of rosemary (R. ofcinalis) exhibited both gram-positive
(Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis) and gram-negative (Es-
cherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae) bacteria (Okoh and others
2010). The major components of rosemary oil are monoterpenes
such as -pinene, -pinene, myrcene 1,8-cineole, borneol, cam-
phor, and verbinone (Santoyo and others 2005; Okoh and others
2010), which possess strong antimicrobial activity by the disrup-
tion of bacteria membrane integrity (Knobloch and others 1989).
Aguirre and others (2013); Burt (2004); and Pelissari and oth-
ers (2009) also reported that oregano essential oil had higher
antimicrobial activity against the gram-positive bacteria (S. au-
reus) than gram-negative (E. coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa). The
main constituents of oregano essential oil are thymol, carvacrol,
-therpinene, and -cymene (Lambert and others 2001; Burt
2004; Aguirre and others 2013). However, Pseudomonas putida was
resistant to carrot seed and parsley essential oils (Teixeira and oth-
ers 2013). E. coli and Salmonella typhimurium were also tolerant to
carrot seed, grapefruit, lemon, onion, and parsley essential oils.
The greater resistance of gram-negative bacteria toward essential
oils may be attributed to the complexity of their double-layer cell
membrane, compared with the single-layer membrane of gram-
positive bacteria (Hogg 2005).
Antimicrobial activity of Callistemon comboynensis essential oil
was observed against gram-positive (B. subtilis and S. aureus), gram-
negative (Proteus vulgaris and P. aeruginosa), and a pathogenic fungus
Candida albicans. This might be associated with the high content
of oxygenated constituents (Abdelhady and Aly 2012). Essential
oil of C. comboynensis leave consisted of 1,8-cineole (53.03%),
eugenol (12.1%), methyl eugenol (8.3%), -terpineol (4.3%), and
carveol (3.4%) (Abdelhady and Aly 2012). Teixeira and others
(2013) found that the highest reduction (8.0 log CFU/mL) was
obtained when coriander, origanum, and rosemary essential oils
at a level of 20 L were used to inhibit Listeria innocua. Thyme
essential oil (20 L) was able to inhibit both L. innocua and Lis-
teria monocytogenes. However, rosemary essential oil exhibited the
highest MIC (90.8 mg/mL) against Brochothrix thermosphacta and
S. typhimurium. Thus, essential oils from the selected plants can be
used as antimicrobial agents for food applications as well as other
purposes; however, their activity depends on types of essential oil
used.
Figure 3Schematic illustration for the effect of essential oils on bacteria cell.
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Bioactivities and applications of essential oils . . .
Antioxidant activity
Several compounds in essential oils have the structure mim-
icking the well-known plant phenols with antioxidant activity.
Among the major compounds available in the oil, thymol and
carvacrol were reported to possess the highest antioxidant activity
(Dapkevicius and others 1998). Essential oils have several modes
of actions as antioxidant, such as prevention of chain initiation,
free radical scavengers, reducing agents, termination of peroxides,
prevention of continued hydrogen abstraction as well as quenchers
of singlet oxygen formation and binding of transition metal ion
catalysts (Yildirim and others 2000; Mao and others 2006). With
those functions, essential oils can serve as the potential natural an-
tioxidants, which can be used to prevent lipid oxidation in food
systems. Phenolics are organic compounds consisting of hydroxyl
group (-OH) attached directly to a carbon atom that is a part
of aromatic ring. The hydrogen atom of hydroxyl group can be
donated to free radicals, thereby preventing other compounds to
be oxidized (Nguyen and others 2003). Teixeira and others (2013)
reported that the highest scavenging activity of DPPH radical was
observed for clove and origanum essential oils with the EC
50
val-
ues of 35.7 1.2 and 46.8 0.4 g/mL, respectively. Clove and
origanum essential oils also showed the high ferric reducing power
(Teixeira and others 2013). The antioxidant capability of phenolic
compounds is mainly due to their redox properties, which permit
them to act as hydrogen donors, reducing agents, singlet oxygen
quenchers as well as metal chelators (Kumar and others 2005).
The antioxidant activity is generally related with the major ac-
tive compounds in essential oils such as eugenol in clove (Wei
and Shibamoto 2010), carvacrol in origanum (Bounatirou and
others 2007), m-thymol in thyme (Bozin and others 2006), and
-citronellol or -citronellal in citronella (Ruberto and Baratta
2000). However, the other antioxidant compounds in essential
oils such as terpinene, ()-camphor, ()-bornylacetate, eucalyp-
tol, and methylchavicol have been reported to exhibit antioxidant
activity, but their amounts were probably too low to exhibit an-
tioxidant activity (Ruberto and Baratta 2000; Miti c-

Cula c and
others 2009; Teixeira and others 2013). Antioxidant activity varies
with source of essential oils. Tongnuanchan and others (2013a)
reported that among essential oils from roots, plai essential oil
showed the highest DPPH radical scavenging activity, followed
by turmeric and ginger essential oil, respectively. The highest
2,2-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS)
radical scavenging activity was observed in turmeric essential oil,
followed by plai and ginger essential oils. The differences in an-
tioxidative activity of different essential oils were mostly due to
the differences in types and amounts of antioxidative components
present in essential oils (Burt 2004; Kordali and others 2005).
Antioxidative activity of essential oil is also affected by extraction
method or solvents used. Sarikurkcu and others (2010) reported
that free radical scavenging activity (DPPH assay) and reducing
power of essential oil from Thymus longicaulis subsp. Longicaulis
var. longicaulis extracted using HD method was lower than those
extracted using methanol or water. Methanol extract of Salvia
tomentosa exhibited superior radical scavenging activity to other
extracts (IC
50
= 18.7l g/mL) (Tepe and others 2005). Nonpolar
extracts showed less effective activities than polar extracts. There-
fore, antioxidative activity of essential oil is strictly related with
the polarities of their phytochemicals. The antioxidant activity of
Figure 4Structure of carvacrol and
carvacrol-related compounds
Source: Veldhuizen and others (2006).
Vol. 79, Nr. 7, 2014
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Bioactivities and applications of essential oils . . .
essential oil from T. longicaulis subsp. longicaulis var. longicaulis ex-
tracted by HD method at 2.0 mg/mL showed similar antioxidative
activity to synthetic antioxidants butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) when tested by -carotene
linoleic acid model system and was higher than those extracted
with other solvents (Sarikurkcu and others 2010). In contrast, the
inhibition of linoleic acid oxidation of model system by essential
oil of S. tomentosa (Miller) was lower than those extracted using
solvents with different polarities and BHT (Tepe and others 2005).
Abdelhady and Aly (2012) reported that C. comboynensis essential
oil exhibited the antioxidant activity at a concentration of 1000
g/mL (91.1 0.3% inhibition), comparable to 100 g/mL gallic
acid (95.7 2% inhibition). It has been reported that nonphe-
nolic antioxidants of plant extracts might also contribute to the
antioxidant activity (Newman and others 2002; Hassimotto and
others 2005).
Additionally, the harvesting period of plant also determines the
concentration of the major oil components such as phenolic com-
pounds, which directly related with the antioxidant activity of
essential oils (Malatova and others 2011; Zheljazkov and others
2012; Wu and others 2013).
Active Packaging Containing Essential Oils
and Applications
Development of active packaging
Nowadays, smart packaging has gained increasing attention, for
example, antimicrobial packaging, which can be applied to ex-
tend the shelf life of food and products (Appendini and Hotchkiss
2002; Quintavalla and Vicini 2002). To enhance the property of
those packaging, antimicrobial compounds or extracts with the se-
lected bioactivity are incorporated. Thus, several approaches have
been introduced, not only for increasing bioactivity but also mod-
ifying the property of biomaterials used for packaging. Among
biomaterials, proteins have gained attention, due to their vari-
ety in compositions, properties, as well as nutritive value. How-
ever, protein-based material for packaging is still encountering the
poor property, especially poor barrier property toward water va-
por. Chemical and enzyme treatment can be applied to modify
polymer network through the cross-linking of the polymer chains
to improve the properties of protein lm (Mahmoud and Savello
1993; Yildirim and Hettiarachchy 1997; De Carvalho and Grosso
2004). Hydrophobic plasticizer can be used to improve water va-
por barrier property of lms. However, it may yield lms with
different properties. The incorporation of hydrophobic substances
such as lipid, fatty acid, wax, and so on, has been implemented to
improve water vapor barrier property (Prodpran and others 2007;
Limpisophon and others 2010; Soazo and others 2011). Hy-
drophobic materials such as essential oils have been incorporated
to improve water vapor barrier property of protein-based lms,
for example, lm from sh muscle protein, lm from sh gelatin,
and so on (Atar es and others 2010a; Tongnuanchan and others
2012, 2013a). Tongnuanchan and others (2012) reported that wa-
ter vapor permeability (WVP) of sh skin gelatin lm decreased
markedly from 3.11 to 1.88, 1.89, and 2.45 10
11
gm
1
s
1
Pa
1
(P < 0.05), when lms were incorporated with ginger, turmeric,
and plai essential oils, respectively, at a level of 100% based on pro-
tein. The incorporation of ginger, turmeric, and plai essential oils
at the highest level (100% based on protein) reduced WVP of lm
by 39.54%, 39.22%, and 21.22%, respectively. The result suggested
different hydrophobicity of compounds present in different essen-
tial oils used. Monoterpenes are highly hydrophobic substances
found in essential oils, in which the content varied with types of
essential oils (Turina and others 2006). Hydrophobic essential oil
could increase the hydrophobicity of lms, thereby reducing the
water vapor migration through the lm. Essential oils with low
density are separated and localized at the upper surface of lm,
thereby forming the bilayer microstructure. In general, there was
no oil exudates on the lm incorporated with low concentration
(25%) of essential oil; however, at high concentration of essen-
tial oil (100%), some oil exudates were found at the surface of
the lms. The bilayer-morphological microstructure might con-
tribute to lower WVP of essential-oil-incorporated gelatin lms
(Figure 5), compared with the control lm. Atar es and others
(2010a) studied the mechanical properties of soy protein isolate
incorporated with cinnamon and ginger essential oil at differ-
ent concentrations (protein to oil mass ratios: 1 : 0.025, 1 : 0.050,
1 : 0.075, and 1 : 0.100). A slight decreasing trend of elastic mod-
ulus (EM) was observed as the oil content increased. The WVP
was slightly reduced by both essential oils. The oil type signi-
cantly affected both tensile strength (resistance to elongation) and
EM (capacity for stretching) (Atar es and others 2010a). Essen-
tial oils may cause some degree of rearrangement in the protein
network, thus strengthening and increasing the lm resistance to
elongation. Moreover, Pires and others (2011) studied the effect
of thyme essential oil incorporated in hake protein lm. The ad-
dition of thyme oil signicantly reduced the WVP. Nevertheless,
the addition of essential oil had impact on the transparency of lm,
depending on type and concentration of essential oils. The addi-
tion of thyme oil decreased the transparency value of hake proteins
lms (Pires and others 2011). Table 4 presents the properties of
protein-based lms containing various essential oils.
The ability of plant essential oils to protect foods against
pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms has been reported by
several researchers (Lis-Balchin and others 1998; Friedman 2006;
Rojas-Gra u and others 2007). Film or packaging incorporated
with essential oils can be employed as active packaging due to their
antimicrobial or antioxidant activities. Seydim and Sarikus (2006)
evaluated antimicrobial activity of whey-protein isolate-based edi-
ble lms incorporated with oregano essential oil. Oregano essential
oil added lms exhibited the larger inhibitory zone on S. aureus
with increasing levels of essential oil added. Table 5 presents the an-
timicrobial activities of biopolymer lms containing various types
of essential oils.
Films added with essential oils are shown to possess antioxi-
dant activities, which can vary with type and amount of essen-
tial oil incorporated. G omez-Estaca and others (2009) reported
that bovine-hide and tuna skin gelatin lms supplemented with
oregano and rosemary extracts exhibited the reducing ability and
free-radical scavenging capacity. Antioxidant power was gener-
ally being proportional to the amount of added extract. Gelatin
lms incorporated with different essential oils containing 30%
glycerol mostly had the higher antioxidant activity than those
with 20% glycerol (P < 0.05) (Tongnuanchan and others 2012).
More loosen structure of lm network found in lm contain-
ing 30% glycerol favored the release of essential oils with antiox-
idative activity (Tongnuanchan and others 2012). Antioxidative
activities of gelatin lms incorporated with essential oils were
lower than those of pure essential oil, regardless of type of essen-
tial oil used. The interaction between gelatin and antioxidative
compounds in essential oil thus lowers the release of those com-
pounds (Tongnuanchan and others 2013a). Antioxidant activities
of protein-based lms containing various essential oils are shown in
Table 6.
However, lm or packaging may have the smell of essential
oils due to its volatilization. The smell intensity of essential oil in
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Bioactivities and applications of essential oils . . .
T
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Vol. 79, Nr. 7, 2014
r
Journal of Food Science R1241
R
:
C
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R
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v
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w
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F
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Bioactivities and applications of essential oils . . .
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R1242 Journal of Food Science
r
Vol. 79, Nr. 7, 2014
R
:
C
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n
c
i
s
e
R
e
v
i
e
w
s
i
n
F
o
o
d
S
c
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e
n
c
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Bioactivities and applications of essential oils . . .
T
a
b
l
e
5

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.
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Vol. 79, Nr. 7, 2014
r
Journal of Food Science R1243
R
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R
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F
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Bioactivities and applications of essential oils . . .
T
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.
R1244 Journal of Food Science
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Vol. 79, Nr. 7, 2014
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Bioactivities and applications of essential oils . . .
lms increased with increasing essential oil levels. This might limit
the application of the lm in food when it was incorporated at
the high amount. However, smaller amount (25%) of essential oil
added did not cause the detrimental effect on smell perception or
unacceptability of the lm (Tongnuanchan and others 2012).
Active lm containing essential oil can be applied to extend
the shelf life and maintain the quality of foods, such as meat,
sh, and their products. Films can serve as carriers for various
antimicrobial agent and antioxidant that can maintain fresh quality,
extend product shelf life, and reduce the risk of pathogen growth.
Table 7 presents the antimicrobial effect of active lms containing
various essential oils in food systems.
Use of packaging for meat and meat products
Microorganisms are responsible for meat spoilage. Most essential
oils are classied as generally recognized as safe (GRAS). However,
their use as food preservatives is often limited due to avoring
considerations (Zinoviadou and others 2009). The effectiveness
of bioactive lms containing essential oils against the spoilage or
pathogenic bacteria in food system has been studied. Zinoviadou
and others (2009) studied the antibacterial effects of WPI lm
containing oregano oil (0.5% and 1.5% w/w of Film forming
solution [FFS]) against total variable bacteria count, Pseudomonas
spp. and lactic acid bacteria on beef cuts. The use of lms con-
taining the highest level of oregano oil (1.5% w/w of FFS) re-
sulted in a signicant reduction of total variable bacteria count
and Pseudomonas spp. population during 12 d of refrigeration stor-
age (5 C). The total variable bacteria population of the samples
wrapped with lms containing the high essential oil level at day
8 was 5.1 log CFU/cm
2
, while the control had population of 8.4
log CFU/cm
2
. Since microbial loads higher than 10
7
CFU/cm
2
are usually associated with off-odors (Ercolini and others 2006), it
may be suggested that the use of WPI lms containing 1.5% (w/w)
oregano oil could double the shelf life of fresh beef stored under
refrigerated condition. Oussalah and others (2004) reported the
application of milk protein lms incorporated with essential oils
(oregano, pimento, and mixed) on meat surfaces containing 10
3
CFU/cm
2
of E. coli O157:H7 and Pseudomonas spp. Film contain-
ing oregano essential oil was the most effective in inhibition both
bacteria, whereas lm with pimento oils seemed to be the least ef-
fective against these 2 bacteria. The reduction of around 1 log unit
of E. coli O157:H7 and Pseudomonas spp. was observed at the end
of storage (day 7, at 4 C) when lm containing oregano essential
oil was used, compared to samples without lm coated. Ouattara
and others (2000) reported that chitosan lm incorporated with
cinnamaldehyde reduced the growth of Lactobacillus sakei, Serratia
liquefaciens, and Enterobacteriaceae, on the surface of meat products
(bologna, cooked ham, and pastrami). However, the lms had no
effect or little effect on the numbers of lactic acid bacteria on
bologna or pastrami, after 21 d of storage at 4 or 10 C. Zivanovic
and others (2005) tested the impact of chitosan lm containing
oregano essential oil (1% and 2% of FFS) on microbial growth of
the inoculated bologna samples and stored for 5 d at 10 C. The
Figure 5Simplied illustration for the formation of emulsied and bilayer lms from sh skin gelatin incorporated with essential oil.
Source: Adapted from Tongnuanchan and others (2013a).
Vol. 79, Nr. 7, 2014
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Bioactivities and applications of essential oils . . .
Table 7Antimicrobial effect of active lms containing various essential oils in food systems.
Film forming Essential oils,
materials concentration samples Tested organisms References
Chitosan Cinnamaldehyde, 1% (w/w) of FFS Bologna, Regular
cooked ham,
Pastrami
Enterobacteriaceae, Lactobacillus sakei, Serratia
liquefaciens, Lactic acid bacteria
Ouattara and
others (2000)
Milk protein Oregano (OR), Pimento (PI),
Mixture (OR+PI, 1 : 1), 1% (w/v) of
FFS
Whole beef
muscle
Escherichia coli O157:H7, Pseudomonas spp. Oussalah and
others (2004)
Chitosan Oregano, 1% and 2% of FFS Bologna slices Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli O157:H7 Zivanovic and
others (2005)
Pigskin gelatin Oregano, Rosemary, 1.25% and 20%
of FFS, respectively
Cold-smoked
sardine
Total viable bacteria, H
2
S-producing microorganisms Gomez-Estaca and
others (2007)
Whey protein isolate Oregano, 1.5% (w/w) of FFS Fresh beef Total viable bacteria, Pseudomonas ssp., Lactic acid
bacteria
Zinoviadou and
others (2009)
Soy protein Oregano (OR), Thyme (TH),
Mixture (OR+TH, 1 : 1), 5% (v/v)
of FFS
Fresh ground beef
patties
Pseudomanas spp., Staphylococcus spp. Coliform Emiro glu and
others (2010)
Bovine-hide
gelatin-Chitosan
Clove, 0.75 mL/g biopolymer Cod llets Total viable bacteria, H
2
S-producing
microorganisms, Lactic acid bacteria, Pseudomonas
ssp., Enterobacteriaceae
G omez-Estaca and
others (2010)
Sunower protein
concentrate
Clove, 0.75 mL/g biopolymer Sardine patties Total viable bacteria, Total mesophiles,
H
2
S-producing microorganisms, Luminescent
colonies, Lactic bacteria, Pseudomonas spp.
Enterobacteriaceae
Salgado and others
(2013)
higher activity was obtained in lms with 1% and 2% oregano
essential oil, which decreased the numbers of L. monocytogenes by
3.6 to 4 logs and E. coli O157:H7 by 3 logs, whereas the pure
chitosan lms reduced L. monocytogenes by 2 logs.
Essential oils are able to extend shelf life of foods by lower-
ing lipid oxidation (Oussalah and others 2004; Zivanovic and
others 2005). Therefore, the incorporation of essential oils into the
biodegradable lms could provide antioxidant activity for resulting
lms. Oussalah and others (2004) reported that the incorporation
of oregano essential oil into milk-protein-based lm increased the
ability to stabilize lipid oxidation in beef muscle samples during
refrigerated storage. Moradi and others (2011) studied the an-
tioxidant effects of chitosan lm containing Zatariamultiora Boiss
essential oil (ZEO) wrapped on mortadella sausage during 21 d of
refrigeration storage (4 C). Lipid oxidation of samples decreased
markedly at rst 6 d when compared to samples wrapped with
control lm (without ZEO incorporated) and unwrapped samples
up to the end of storage. The most effectiveness was observed
when samples packed with lm containing 10 g/kg ZEO and
combination with 10 g/kg grape seed extract.
Use of packaging for sh and sh products
The antimicrobial effects of plant extracts including plant es-
sential oils on a wide range of microorganisms have been de-
scribed (Hammer and others 1999; Dorman and Deans 2000).
As a consequence, plant extracts have been used to preserve meat
and sh products due to their antimicrobial and antioxidant ef-
fects. G omez-Estaca and others (2010) reported that the complex
gelatinchitosan lm incorporated with clove essential oil was ap-
plied to sh during chilled storage and the growth was drastically
reduced for gram-negative bacteria, especially enterobacteria, and
corresponded with the delay in total volatile base (TVB) produc-
tion. Lactic acid bacteria remained practically constant during 11
d of storage. H
2
S-producing bacteria were also inhibited since
their growth was interrupted with the application of the lm.
This microbial inhibition could be attributed to the hydrophobic
nature of essential oil, which enable them and their components
to partition in the lipids of the bacteria cell membrane and mi-
tochondria while disturbing the structures and rendering it more
permeable (Sikkema and others 1995). The intrinsic properties of
the food (fat, protein, pH, and so on), as well as the environment
in which the food is maintained (storage temperature, packag-
ing, and so on), may inuence the prevention effect of essential
oils (Tassou and others 1995; Burt 2004). Low pH and storage
temperature, decrease O
2
concentrations, and high salt content
enhances the antimicrobial effect of essential oils, while high levels
of protein and fat and low water activity seem to protect bacte-
ria from the inhibition by essential oils (G omez-Estaca and others
2010). However, soy protein lm with oregano, thyme essential
oil, and mixture of those did not have signicant effects on to-
tal viable counts, lactic acid bacteria and Staphylococcus spp. when
applied on ground beef patties. Nevertheless, the reduction in co-
liform and Pseudomonas spp. counts was observed. Gomez-Estaca
and others (2007) tested the antibacterial effects of gelatin-based
lms added with an extract of oregano or rosemary against micro-
bial spoilage in preserving cold-smoked sardine. Coating the sh
with lms enriched with oregano or rosemary extract lowered
the microbial growth by 1.99 and 1.54 log cycles, respectively, on
day 16.
Salgado and others (2013) tested the antioxidant activity of sun-
ower protein lms enriched with clove essential oil in preserving
sh patties during 13 d of storage at 2C. The rate of malonalde-
hyde production was lower in patties wrapped with clove contain-
ing lms during the rst 3 d of storage, indicating a noticeable
delay in hydroperoxide (primary lipid oxidation products) degra-
dation exerted by the clove essential oil components. This allowed
thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) remaining at the
lowest values during storage. Use of natural plant extracts to pre-
vent lipid oxidation in sh has been reported (Gim enez and others
2004; Serdaroglu and Felekoglu 2005). Gomez-Estaca and others
(2007) developed gelatin-based lm enriched with oregano or
rosemary essential oils to prevent lipid oxidation in cold-smoked
sardine during 20 d of storage at 5 C. Coating the muscle with
the lms enriched with both essential oils, particularly oregano
oil, lowered the lipid oxidation rate (as measured by the peroxide
and TBARS indices) of the muscle. Therefore, the edible lms
with the added plant extracts could lower lipid oxidation levels in
food systems.
R1246 Journal of Food Science
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Bioactivities and applications of essential oils . . .
Conclusions
In summary, essential oils fromdifferent sources can be exploited
as the natural additives in foods. Essential oils with other bioac-
tivities or functions from new sources should be further searched.
New technology for lowering the unique and undesirable smell
of essential oil, which can limit their use in foods, such as en-
capsulation, and so on, must be implemented. As a consequence,
essential oil can be widely used without any negative effect on
sensory property of foods. The development of release system for
essential oil from packaging or fuming system inside packaging
should be conducted to maximize the activity of active com-
pounds in essential oils. Therefore, it can serve as the convenient
packaging, which effectively extends the shelf life of foods.
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