Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds produced by plants that are of great commercial interest in the food, agricultural, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries due to their broad spectra of antibacterial, antifungal, anthelmintic, membrane permeation enhancement, and antioxidant biological activities. Applications of terpenes are often limited by their volatility and the need for surfactants or alcohols to produce stable, soluble (non-precipitated) products. Yeast particles (YPs) are hollow, porous microspheres that have been used for the encapsulation of terpenes (YP terpenes) by passive diffusion of terpenes through the porous YP cell walls. We here report the development of a second generation YP encapsulated terpene technology that incorporates the stimuli-responsive control of terpene release using biodegradable pro-terpene compounds (YP pro-terpenes). YP terpenes and YP pro-terpenes were both produced, in which high levels of carvacrol, eugenol, thymol and geraniol were encapsulated. The YP pro-terpenes show higher encapsulation stability than YP terpenes due to pro-terpenes being non-volatile solids at room temperature and stable in suspensions at neutral pH. YP pro-terpenes and YP terpenes were evaluated for biological activity in antibacterial, antifungal and anthelmintic assays. The YP pro-terpenes retained the full biological activity of the parent terpene compound.

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Published in Foods, v. 10, issue 6, 1207.

© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This research was funded by (1) the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases grants R01AI056189 and R01AI50866 to R.V.A., (2) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2015–11323 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to R.V.A., and (3) Sponsored Research Agreement from Eden Research plc to G.R.O.

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The data presented in this study are available upon request from the corresponding author.