Researchers have studied the effectiveness of new antimicrobial systems based on the use of essential oils extracted from plants such as thyme or cinnamon to improve the preservation of foods and found them suitable – with no smell or taste.

As the developed world becomes wealthier, people are more demanding about the processes used in the foods they eat, even if it means contradictions. Some distrust the science that goes into preservation, like additives. while insisting they are concerned about rampant food waste – which is most often spoilage.

Catering to these contradictions could be a huge market, and new microbial stabilization techniques, which include new antimicrobial agents, could be one path to riches. One technique works by using the chemical immobilization of the essential oil on platforms that are authorized for being used with foods, in a way that maintains the antimicrobial activity of essential oils without reaching the food.


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So far it has been applied to treat the microorganisms that alter wine, and it managed to stunt their growth. Additional research suggests that the antimicrobial systems developed can be used to microbiologically stabilize wines, thus decreasing the amount of additives such as sulphites.
 
What about the pungent odor of essential oils?

 The system is based on the covalent immobilization of components of the essential oils on silica and cellulose micro-particles as well as cellulose membranes. The antimicrobials can’t reach the food, so its smell can therefore not be perceived by the consumer. 

 The antimicrobial systems could be used as food additives to microbiologically stabilize other products, in order to replace or reduce the addition of “synthetic” chemical preservatives. They could also be used for the design of a new cold pasteurization process for liquid foods.

Citation: García-Ríos, E., Ruiz-Rico, M., Guillamón, J. M., Pérez-Esteve, É.,&Barat, J. M. (2018). Improved antimicrobial activity of immobilised essential oil components against representative spoilage wine microorganisms. Food Control, 94, 177-186 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2018.07.005

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