Antifungal activity of volatile compounds generated by essential oils against fungi commonly causing deterioration of bakery products


A. J. Ramos, Food Technology Department, Lleida University, UTPV-CeRTA, Rovira Roure 191, 25198 Lleida, Spain (e-mail:


Aims: To investigate the volatile fractions of 16 essential oils for activity against the more common fungi causing spoilage of bakery products, Eurotium amstelodami, E. herbariorum, E. repens, E. rubrum, Aspergillus flavus, A. niger and Penicillium corylophilum.

Methods and Results: The study applied 50 μl of pure essential oils in a sterilized filter paper, were carried out at pH 6 and at different water activity levels (0·80–0·90). First, a wheat flour based agar medium was used, where cinnamon leaf, clove, bay, lemongrass and thyme essential oils where found to totally inhibit all microorganisms tested. These five essential oils were then tested in sponge cake analogues, but the antifungal activity detected was much more limited.

Conclusion: Five essential oils showed potential antifungal capacity against all species tested, over a wide range of water availability. Their activity, however, seems to be substrate-dependent. More research is needed to make them work in real bakery products, as in the preliminary study limited effectiveness was found.

Significance and Impact of the Study: The potential of the cinnamon leaf, clove, bay, lemongrass and thyme essential oils against species belonging to Eurotium, Aspergillus and Penicillium genus has been demonstrated.