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Keywords:

  • coatings;
  • essential oil;
  • food preservation;
  • food safety;
  • fruit

Abstract

Nanoemulsions containing lemongrass oil (LO) were developed for coating plums and the effects of the nanoemulsion coatings on the microbial safety and physicochemical storage qualities of plums during storage at 4 and 25 °C were investigated. The emulsions used for coating were produced by mixing a carnauba wax-based solution (18%, w/w) with LO at various concentrations (0.5% to 4.0%, w/w) using dynamic high pressure processing at 172 MPa. The coatings were evaluated for their ability to inhibit the growth of Salmonella Typhimurium and Escherichia coli O157:H7 and their ability to preserve various physicochemical qualities of plums. Uniform and continuous coatings on plums, formed with stable emulsions, initially inhibited S. Typhimurium and E. coli O157:H7 by 0.2 to 2.8 and 0.8 to 2.7 log CFU/g, respectively, depending on the concentration of LO and the sequence of coating. The coatings did not significantly alter the flavor, fracturability, or glossiness of the plums. The antimicrobial effects of the coatings against S. Typhimurium and E. coli O157:H7 were demonstrated during storage at 4 and 25 °C. The coatings reduced weight loss and ethylene production by approximately 2 to 3 and 1.4 to 4.0 fold, respectively, and also retarded the changes in lightness and the concentration of phenolic compounds in plums during storage. The firmness of coated plums was generally higher than uncoated plums when stored at 4 °C and plum respiration rates were reduced during storage. Coatings containing nanoemulsions of LO have the potential to inhibit Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 contamination of plums and may extend plum shelf life.

Practical Application

This research explored the potential of a carnauba wax and lemongrass oil nanoemulsion coating to increase microbial safety and shelf life of plums. The data presented in this paper, demonstrating the effects of the nanoemulsion coating on the inhibition of foodborne pathogens and the physicochemical properties of stored plums, would be useful for the formation of nanoemulsion coatings for fruit applications.