Antimicrobial efficacy of eugenol microemulsions in milk against Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli O157:H7.
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The antimicrobial activity of eugenol microemulsions (eugenol encapsulated in surfactant micelles) in ultrahigh-temperature pasteurized milk containing different percentages of milk fat (0, 2, and 4%) was investigated. Antimicrobial microemulsions were prepared from a 5% (wt) aqueous surfactant solution (Surfynol 485W) with 0.5% (wt) eugenol. Two strains each of Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli O157:H7 previously shown to be the least and most resistant to the microemulsion in microbiological media were used to inoculate sterile milk (10(4) CFU/ml). Samples were withdrawn and plated at 0, 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 h for enumeration. Microemulsions completely prevented growth of L. monocytogenes for up to 48 h in skim milk and reduced both strains of E. coli O157:H7 to less than detectable levels in less than 1 h. Similarly, in 2% fat milk, eugenol-Surfynol combinations reduced both strains of E. coli O157:H7 to less than detectable levels in less than 1 h but only increased the lag phase of both strains of L. monocytogenes. In full-fat milk (4% fat), microemulsions inhibited growth of the least resistant strains of L. monocytogenes and E. coli but were ineffective against the two resistant strains. Unencapsulated eugenol was slightly more or as inhibitory as microemulsions against target pathogens. Results were attributed to diffusional mass transport of antimicrobials from microemulsions to the macroemulsion (milk). Results suggest that food composition, especially fat level, may affect the efficiency of targeting of foodborne pathogens with surfactant-encapsulated antimicrobials.