Get access

Inactivation of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and Quality Maintenance of Cherry Tomatoes Treated with Gaseous Essential Oils


  • Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA). USDA is an equal opportunity employer and provider.

Direct inquiries to author Fan (E-mail:


 The antimicrobial activity of the essential oils (EOs) from cinnamon bark, oregano, mustard, and of their major components cinnamaldehyde, carvacrol, and allyl isothiocyanate (AIT) was evaluated as a gaseous treatment to reduce Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium in vitro and on tomatoes. In vitro tests showed that mustard EO and AIT had the greatest inhibition of Salmonella, followed by cinnamon EO and cinnamaldehyde, while oregano and carvacrol showed the least inhibition. Scanning electron microscopy images of S. Typhimurium on tomatoes suggest that the EOs and their major components damaged the bacteria, and the damage was more obvious after posttreatment storage at 10 °C for 4 and 7 d. Salmonella on inoculated tomatoes was reduced by more than 5 log colony forming units (CFU)/g by mustard EO and AIT, by 4.56 and 3.79 log CFU/g following cinnamon EO and cinnamaldehyde treatments, respectively, and 1.54 and 3.37 log CFU/g after oregano EO and carvacrol treatments, respectively. Mustard EO and AIT induced discoloration, softening, and loss of the vitamin C and lycopene during 21 d of storage at 10 °C, while treatment with cinnamon EO and cinnamaldehyde did not result in significant changes in tomato quality. Tomatoes treated with oregano EO had better quality than nontreated samples after storage. Therefore, treatment with cinnamon and oregano EO and their major components appeared to be feasible for inactivation of Salmonella on tomatoes and maintaining quality.