Indexed on: 08 Jun '12Published on: 08 Jun '12Published in: Journal of Food Science
Edible films can be used as wrapping material on food products to reduce surface contamination. The incorporation of antimicrobials into edible films could serve as an additional barrier against pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms that contaminate food surfaces. The objective of this study was to investigate the antimicrobial effects of carvacrol and cinnamaldehyde, incorporated into apple, carrot, and hibiscus-based edible films against Listeria monocytogenes on contaminated ham and bologna. Ham or bologna samples were inoculated with L. monocytogenes and dried for 30 min, then surface wrapped with edible films containing the antimicrobials at various concentrations. The inoculated, film-wrapped samples were stored at 4 °C. Samples were taken at day 0, 3, and 7 for enumeration of surviving L. monocytogenes by plating on appropriate media. Carvacrol films showed better antimicrobial activity than cinnamaldehyde films. Compared to control films without antimicrobials, films with 3% carvacrol induced 1 to 3, 2 to 3, and 2 to 3 log CFU/g reductions on ham and bologna at day 0, 3, and 7, respectively. Corresponding reductions with 1.5% carvacrol were 0.5 to 1, 1 to 1.5, and 1 to 2 logs, respectively. At day 7, films with 3% cinnamaldehyde reduced L. monocytogenes population by 0.5 to 1.5 and 0.5 to 1.0 logs on ham and bologna, respectively. Inactivation by apple films was greater than that by carrot or hibiscus films. Apple films containing 3% carvacrol reduced L. monocytogenes population on ham by 3 logs CFU/g on day 0 which was 1 to 2 logs greater than that by carrot and hibiscus films. Films were more effective on ham than on bologna. The food industry and consumers could use these films to control surface contamination by pathogenic microorganisms.Antimicrobial edible, food-compatible film wraps prepared from apples, carrots, and hibiscus calyces can be used by the food industry to inactivate Listeria monocytogenes on widely consumed ready to eat meat products such as bologna and ham. This study provides a scientific basis for large-scale application of edible fruit- and vegetable-based antimicrobial films on foods to improve microbial food safety.