Antifungal activities of combined treatments of irradiation and essential oils (EOs) encapsulated chitosan nanocomposite films in in vitro and in situ conditions

Int J Food Microbiol. 2019 Apr 16:295:33-40. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2019.02.009. Epub 2019 Feb 12.


Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) reinforced chitosan based antifungal films were prepared by encapsulating essential oils (EOs) nanoemulsion. Vapor phase assays of the chitosan-based nanocomposite films loaded with thyme-oregano, thyme-tea tree and thyme-peppermint EO mixtures showed significant antifungal activity against Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus parasiticus, and Penicillium chrysogenum, reducing their growth by 51-77%. Combining the bioactive chitosan films loaded with thyme and oregano EOs produced ~2 log reduction in fungal growth in inoculated rice during 8 weeks of storage at 28 °C. The bioactive films showed a slow release (26%) of volatile components over 12 weeks of storage. Sensorial evaluation of rice samples packed with the bioactive films showed no significant change in odor, taste, color and general appreciation compared with untreated rice. Incorporation of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) with the chitosan matrix played an important role in stabilizing the physicochemical and release properties of the nanocomposite films. In addition, combining the bioactive chitosan films with a dose of 750 Gy of ionizing radiation showed significantly higher antifungal and mechanical properties than treatment with the bioactive film or irradiation alone.

Keywords: Active packaging; Antifungal activity; Nanoemulsion; Release of volatile components; γ radiation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Aspergillus* / drug effects
  • Aspergillus* / radiation effects
  • Chitosan / chemistry*
  • Nanocomposites / chemistry*
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Origanum / chemistry
  • Oryzias / microbiology
  • Penicillium chrysogenum* / drug effects
  • Penicillium chrysogenum* / radiation effects
  • Radiation, Ionizing*
  • Thymus Plant / chemistry


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Chitosan