Chitosan boosts the antimicrobial activity of Origanum vulgare essential oil in modified atmosphere packaged pork.Food Microbiol. 2016 Oct; 59:23-31.FM
The potential of chitosan as a possible booster of the antimicrobial activity of Origanum vulgare EO (OEO) against spoilage bacteria and Listeria monocytogenes was investigated in fresh pork meat. Pork fillets were inoculated with 3 L. monocytogenes strains, dipped either in Origanum vulgare (oregano) Essential Oil (OEO) at 2 and 4%, or in chitosan 1% alone or added with 2 and 4% OEO, then packed under modified atmosphere (70% O2, 20% CO2, 10% N2) and stored at 4 °C for 15 days. OEO did not reduce L. monocytogenes growth, while 2 Log decrease was obtained after 2 days of storage in treatments with chitosan alone or with OEO, with growth inhibition up to day 15 in samples with chitosan and OEO 4%. When OEO was combined with chitosan, total viable counts and spoilage bacteria were reduced and contained over time, particularly Pseudomonas (2.0 Log CFU/g at day 15) and Brochothrix thermosphacta (undetectable). All the treatments applied extended meat shelf-life with respect to control, whose commercial shelf-life was 10 days. Chitosan treatments enhanced L* and maintained a* values almost stable during storage. Chitosan and OEO singly applied reduced lipid oxidation (0.62-0.75 mg malondialdehyde/Kg meat) compared to control (0.99 mg malondialdehyde/Kg meat). Finally, chitosan treated samples were not recognized with respect to the control, whereas OEO gave bitter taste; chitosan with OEO instead mitigated the effect of OEO addition to meat. Chitosan combined with OEO boosts its antimicrobial activity and shows a potential for application in industrial production of fresh pork in MAP, to achieve shelf-life extension, control of L. monocytogenes growth, stability of color and protective effect from oxidation, with low sensory impact.