Korea University Food Microbiology Laboratory

Antimicrobial effects of essential oil vapors on Bacillus cereus on nutrient agar and iceberg lettuce
Year of publication 2023
Author Yang, H., Yeom, W., Oh, J., Kim, H., Beuchat, L. R., & Ryu, J. H.
Publication in journal Food Bioscience
Status of publication Published

We investigated the antimicrobial effects of essential oil (EO) vapors individually and in combination against Bacillus cereus. In an initial study, EO vapors were generated from 95 commercially available EOs and their antimicrobial activities against B. cereus were tested. Five EO vapors (citronella, lemongrass, may chang, oregano, and thyme thymol) showed strong inhibitory activity. Next, we determined the minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) and minimal lethal concentrations (MLCs) of these EOs against B. cereus cultured on nutrient agar; values were 0.0781 μL/mL and >5 μL/mL, respectively. The synergistic antimicrobial activity of combinations between EO vapors on B. cereus were evaluated using a modified checkerboard assay. Oregano and thyme thymol EO vapors showed greatest synergism (fractional inhibitory concentration index: 0.5000 at a 1:1 vol ratio). Finally, we tested for antimicrobial properties of oregano and thyme thymol EO vapors against B. cereus on iceberg lettuce individually and in combination. The growth of B. cereus was inhibited by 0.0049–0.0098 μL/mL of EO vapors at concentrations 8- to 16-fold lower than that of MICs on nutrient agar. However, a combination of oregano and thyme thymol EO vapors did not have a synergistic lethal effect. Observations provide basic information for the development of decontamination treatments to inhibit the growth of B. cereus and perhaps other spore-forming bacteria on foods and food-contact surfaces using EO vapors.