Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Agriculture

Department

Nutrition and Food Science

First Advisor

Dr. Melissa Newman

Abstract

Raw and processed foods are vulnerable to contamination during their production, distribution and sale. Thus, a wide variety of chemical preservatives are used in the food industry to prevent the growth of food spoilage and pathogenic bacteria. However, health and economic concerns have led to an intensive search for natural alternatives, such as plant extracts, that can safely be used as substitutes for synthetic antimicrobials and preservatives to partially or completely inhibit the growth of bacteria.

This study evaluated the antimicrobial effects of natural phenolic compounds extracted from vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices. The main objective was to determine the lowest concentration of phenolics to inhibit the visible growth of the pathogenic bacteria which is defined as the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC).

Some of the most common Gram-positive and Gram-negative foodborne pathogens were treated with several natural phenolic compounds. Concentrations of 5, 10, 15, and 20 ppm (pH 5-6) of each compound were evaluated by broth micro-dilution method and the MICs were determined by using official density (OD) assay. The results demonstrated that the phenolic compounds have varying antimicrobial activities against foodborne pathogens. Natural sources of phenolic compounds contain major antibacterial components and have great potential to be used as natural antimicrobials and food preservatives.

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