Antimicrobial activity of essential oils on Salmonella enteritidis, Escherichia coli, and Listeria innocua in fruit juices

J Food Prot. 2006 Jul;69(7):1579-86. doi: 10.4315/0362-028x-69.7.1579.


The antimicrobial properties of essential oils (EOs) and their derivatives have been known for years. However, the information published about the minimal effective concentration of EOs against microorganisms in fruit juices is scarce. In this study, both MIC and MBC of six EOs (lemongrass, cinnamon, geraniol, palmarosa, or benzaldehyde) against Salmonella Enteritidis, Escherichia coli, and Listeria innocua were determined by the agar and broth dilution methods, respectively. All of the six EOs inhibited the microbial (Salmonella Enteritidis, E. coli, and L. innocua) growth at a concentration from 1 microl/ ml (MIC). These studies led to choosing the three most effective EOs. Lemongrass, cinnamon, and geraniol were found to be most effective in inhibiting the growth of the microorganisms and thus were used for the MBC analysis. On this last point, significant differences (P < 0.05) among EOs, their concentrations, and culture media (apple, pear, and melon juices, or tryptone soy broth medium) were found after comparing the results on MBC for each microorganism. A concentration of 2 microl/ml from lemongrass, cinnamon, or geraniol was enough to inactivate Salmonella Enteritidis, E. coli, and L. innocua in apple and pear juices. However, in melon juice and tryptone soy broth medium, concentrations of 8 and 10 microl/ml from cinnamon, respectively, or 6 microl/ml from geraniol were necessary to eliminate the three microorganisms, whereas lemongrass required only 5 micro/ml to inactivate them. These results suggest that EOs represent a good alternative to eliminate microorganisms that can be a hazard for the consumer in unpasteurized fruit juices. The present study contributes to the knowledge of MBC of EOs against pathogenic bacteria on fruit juices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Beverages / microbiology*
  • Cinnamomum zeylanicum / chemistry
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Cymbopogon / chemistry
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Food Contamination / analysis
  • Food Contamination / prevention & control
  • Food Microbiology
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Listeria / drug effects*
  • Listeria / growth & development
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Salmonella enteritidis / drug effects*
  • Salmonella enteritidis / growth & development
  • Terpenes / pharmacology


  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Terpenes
  • geraniol