Inhibition of Bacterial Pathogens in Medium and on Spinach Leaf Surfaces using Plant-Derived Antimicrobials Loaded in Surfactant Micelles.
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UNLABELLED: Encapsulation of hydrophobic plant essential oil components (EOC) into surfactant micelles can assist the decontamination of fresh produce surfaces from bacterial pathogens during postharvest washing. Loading of eugenol and carvacrol into surfactant micelles of polysorbate 20 (Tween 20), Surfynol 485W, sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), and CytoGuard LA 20 (CG20) was determined by identification of the EOC/surfactant-specific maximum additive concentration (MAC). Rheological behavior of dilute EOC-containing micelles was then tested to determine micelle tolerance to shearing. Antimicrobial efficacy of EOC micelles against Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enterica serotype Saintpaul was first evaluated by the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC). Pathogen-inoculated spinach was treated with eugenol-containing micelles applied via spraying or immersion methods. SDS micelles produced the highest MACs for EOCs, while Tween 20 loaded the lowest amount of EOCs. Micelles demonstrated Newtonian behavior in response to shearing. SDS and CG20-derived micelles containing EOCs produced the lowest MICs and MBCs for pathogens. E. coli O157:H7 and S. Saintpaul were reduced on spinach surfaces by application of eugenol micelles, though no differences in numbers of surviving pathogens were observed when methods of antimicrobial micelle application (spraying, immersion) was compared (P 0.05). Data suggest eugenol in SDS and CG20 micelles may be useful for produce surface decontamination from bacterial pathogens during postharvest washing. PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Antimicrobial essential oil component (EOC)-containing micelles assist the delivery of natural food antimicrobials to food surfaces, including fresh produce, for decontamination of microbial foodborne pathogens. Antimicrobial EOC-loaded micelles were able to inhibit the enteric pathogens Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Saintpaul in liquid medium and on spinach surfaces. However, pathogen reduction generally was not impacted by the method of micelle application (spraying, immersion washing) on spinach surfaces.