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Effect of Mixed Antimicrobial Agents and Flavors in Active Packaging Films

Gutierrez, Laura, Escudero, Ana, Batlle, Ramon, Nerin, Cristina
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2009 v.57 no.18 pp. 8564–8571
antimicrobial agents, flavor, essential oils, odors, food packaging, bacteria, packaging materials, shelf life
Active packaging is an emerging food technology to improve the quality and safety of food products. Many works have been developed to study the antimicrobial activity of essential oils. Essential oils have been traditionally used as flavorings in food, so they have an important odor impact but they have as well antimicrobial properties that could be used to protect the food. Recent developments in antimicrobial active packaging showed the efficiency of essential oils versus bread and bakery products among other applications. However, one of the main problems to face is the odor and taste they could provide to the packaged food. Using some aromas to mask the odor could be a good approach. That is why the main objective of this paper is to develop an antimicrobial packaging material based on the combination of the most active compounds of essential oils (hydrocinnamaldehyde, oregano essential oil, cinnamaldehyde, thymol, and carvacrol) together with some aromas commonly used in the food industry. A study of the concentration required to get the antimicrobial properties, the organoleptic compatibility with typical aroma present in many food systems (vanilla, banana, and strawberry), and the right combination of both systems has been carried out. Antimicrobial tests of both the mentioned aromas, the main components of some essential oils, and the combination of both groups were carried out against bacteria (Enterococcus faecalis, Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella choleraesuis, Yersinia enterocolitica, Escherichia coli), yeasts (Candida albicans, Debaryomyces hansenii, Zygosaccharomyces rouxii), and molds (Botrytis cinerae, Aspergillus flavus, Penicillium roqueforti, Eurotium repens, Penicillium islandicum, Penicillium commune, Penicillium nalgiovensis). The sensory properties of the combinations were evaluated with a triangular test and classification was by an order test; the odor threshold of the aroma compounds was also studied. The results reveal that none of the aromas had antimicrobial properties. The most antimicrobial compounds are thymol, carvacrol, and cinnamaldehyde, but none of them could be combined with banana aroma, whereas only thymol with strawberry aroma gave the right combined organoleptic profile. All of the antimicrobials under study could be combined with vanilla aroma, providing both antimicrobial property and the odor expected.