Inhibition of Salmonella by thyme essential oil and its effect on microbiological and sensory properties of minced pork meat packaged under vacuum and modified atmosphere

Int J Food Microbiol. 2017 Oct 3;258:58-67. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2017.07.011. Epub 2017 Jul 20.


The antibacterial activity of thyme essential oil (TEO) was evaluated against four serovars of Salmonella (S. Enteritidis, S. Typhimurium, S. Montevideo and S. Infantis), experimentally inoculated (106CFU/g) in minced pork, which was treated with different concentrations of the TEO (0.3%, 0.6% and 0.9%) packaged under vacuum or MAP (30%O2/50%CO2/20% N2) and stored at 3±1°C for 15days. GC-MS analysis of the TEO was performed in order to determine composition, and the predominant constituent was thymol (50.48%), followed by p-cymene and linalool. The minimum inhibitory concentration was determined for each Salmonella serovar studied. Among the tested active compounds, thymol and carvacrol exhibited the greatest inhibitory effect followed by TEO, with minimum inhibitory concentrations of 320 to 640μg/ml. S. Enteritidis was the most sensitive serovar. During the storage period, Salmonella counts in pork were reduced by 1.69-4.05logCFU/g. The influence of TEO on Enterobacteriaceae, lactic acid bacteria and total viable count was determined in control mince with no added Salmonella. The most pronounced antibacterial effect was achieved by the combination MAP and 0.9% TEO. Although the antibacterial activities of all studied concentrations of TEO in pork were evident and significant (P<0.05), sensory analysis showed that 0.3% TEO was the most acceptable to trained panellists.

Keywords: Headspace; Lab; Packaging; Pork; Salmonella; Thymus vulgaris.

MeSH terms

  • Acrolein / analogs & derivatives
  • Acrolein / pharmacology
  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Cymenes
  • Eugenol / pharmacology
  • Food Microbiology
  • Food Packaging
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillales / drug effects
  • Lactobacillales / growth & development*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Monoterpenes / chemistry
  • Monoterpenes / pharmacology
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Red Meat / microbiology*
  • Salmonella / drug effects
  • Salmonella / growth & development*
  • Swine
  • Thymol / pharmacology
  • Thymus Plant / chemistry


  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cymenes
  • Monoterpenes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • 4-cymene
  • Thymol
  • Eugenol
  • Acrolein
  • carvacrol
  • linalool
  • cinnamic aldehyde