Litsea cubeba fruit essential oil and its major constituent citral as volatile agents in an antimicrobial packaging material
Food packaging films were coated with polyvinyl acetate (PVA) containing different concentrations of citral or Litsea (L.) cubeba essential oil (EO). Antimicrobial contact trials in style of ISO22916 were performed. Citral coatings achieved bactericidal effects against Escherichia coli (2.1 log) and Staphylococcus aureus (4.3 log) at concentrations of 20%DM. L. cubeba inactivated more than 4 log cycles of both bacteria at a concentration of 20%DM. To determine the antimicrobial activity across the gas phase, a unique method for volatile agents was developed, adapting ISO22196. GC/MS measurements were performed to supplement microbiological tests in a model packaging system with a defined 220 ml headspace (HS). HS-equilibrium concentrations of 1.8 mg/mlAir were found for 20%DM 'citral-coatings, resulting in antimicrobial effects of 3.8 log against of E. coli. Saccharomyces cerevisiae (4.74 log) and Aspergillus niger (4.29 log) were more effectively inactivated by 3%DM and 5%DM coatings. In an application trial with strawberries, simulating a headspace packaging, growth inhibitory effects on the yeast and mold microbiota were found for the 20%DM coatings.