A Comparative Study of Natural Antimicrobial Delivery Systems for Microbial Safety and Quality of Fresh‐Cut Lettuce
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Nanoencapsulation can provide a means to effectively deliver antimicrobial compounds and enhance the safety of fresh produce. However, to date there are no studies which directly compares how different nanoencapsulation systems affect fresh produce safety and quality. This study compared the effects on quality and safety of fresh-cut lettuce treated with free and nanoencapsulated natural antimicrobial, cinnamon bark extract (CBE). A challenge study compared antimicrobial efficacy of 3 different nanoencapsulated CBE systems. The most effective antimicrobial treatment against Listeria monocytogenes was chitosan-co-poly-N-isopropylacrylamide (chitosan-PNIPAAM) encapsulated CBE, with a reduction on bacterial load up to 2 log10 CFU/g (P < 0.05) compared to the other encapsulation systems when fresh-cut lettuce was stored at 5 °C and 10 °C for 15 d. Subsequently, chitosan-PNIPAAM-CBE nanoparticles (20, 40, and 80 mg/mL) were compared to a control and free CBE (400, 800, and 1600 μg/mL) for its effects on fresh-cut lettuce quality over 15 d at 5 °C. By the 10th day, the most effective antimicrobial concentration was 80 mg/mL for chitosan-PNIPAAM-CBE, up to 2 log10 CFU/g reduction (P < 0.05), compared with the other treatments. There was no significant difference between control and treated samples up to day 10 for the quality attributes evaluated. Chitosan-PNIPAAM-CBE nanoparticles effectively inhibited spoilage microorganisms' growth and extended fresh-cut lettuce shelf-life. Overall, nanoencapsulation provided a method to effectively deliver essential oil and enhanced produce safety, while creating little to no detrimental quality changes on the fresh-cut lettuce.
author list (cited authors)
Hill, L. E., Oliveira, D. A., Hills, K., Giacobassi, C., Johnson, J., Summerlin, H., Taylor, T. M., & Gomes, C. L.