Functionality of liquid smoke as an all-natural antimicrobial in food preservation

Meat Sci. 2014 Jun;97(2):197-206. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2014.02.003. Epub 2014 Feb 9.


The smoking of foods, especially meats, has been used as a preservation technique for centuries. Today, smoking methods often involve the use of wood smoke condensates, commonly known as liquid smoke. Liquid smoke is produced by condensing wood smoke created by the pyrolysis of sawdust or wood chips followed by removal of the carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons. The main products of wood pyrolysis are phenols, carbonyls and organic acids which are responsible for the flavor, color and antimicrobial properties of liquid smoke. Several common food-borne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, pathogenic Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus have shown sensitivity to liquid smoke in vitro and in food systems. Therefore liquid smoke has potential for use as an all-natural antimicrobial in commercial applications where smoke flavor is desired. This review will cover the application and effectiveness of liquid smoke and fractions of liquid smoke as an all-natural food preservative. This review will be valuable for the industrial and research communities in the food science and technology areas.

Keywords: Antimicrobial; Liquid smoke; Listeria monocytogenes; Salmonella.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Flavoring Agents*
  • Food Handling
  • Food Microbiology
  • Food Preservation / methods*
  • Food Preservatives / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Meat / microbiology*
  • Smoke*
  • Wood


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Flavoring Agents
  • Food Preservatives
  • Smoke