October 6, 2011

Citrus essential oils to reduce fungal growth on food

New findings in Britain have shown that treating food with citrus essential oil vapor could reduce the growth of fungi on food by over 60%.

Fungi cause spoilage and poisoning of food which is a major problem for the food and import industry as well as consumers and the decay caused by lack of fungicide treatment can increase post harvest losses by up to 50%.

Until now, the use of synthetic fungicides has been sufficient but environmental risks and demands of consumer groups have required alternative treatments to be introduced including essential oils which were found to be effective but possibly detrimental to the organoleptic properties of the food.

Researchers from the University of Northampton therefore decided to explore whether the use of essential oil vapors may retain the food properties whilst also reducing contamination.

It was found that food which was exposed for fifteen minutes to Citri-V essential oil vapor, which is publicly available, displayed a significant decrease in the growth of Penicillium Chrysogenum (by 44%), Aspergillus niger (34%) and Alternaria alternate (64%).

These findings were published in Food Research International. click here to read the report

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