The objective of this study was to investigate the antimicrobial effects of carvacrol and cinnamaldehyde incorporated into apple, carrot, and hibiscus-based edible films against Salmonella Newport in bagged organic leafy greens. The leafy greens tested included organic Romaine and Iceberg lettuce, and mature and baby spinach. Each leafy green sample was washed, dip inoculated with S. Newport (107 CFU/mL), and dried. Each sample was put into a Ziploc® bag. Edible films pieces were put into the Ziploc bag and mixed well. The bags were sealed and stored at 4 °C. Samples were taken at days 0, 3, and 7 for enumeration of survivors. On all leafy greens, 3% carvacrol films showed the best bactericidal effects against Salmonella. All 3 types of 3% carvacrol films reduced the Salmonella population by 5 log10 CFU/g at day 0 and 1.5% carvacrol films reduced Salmonella by 1 to 4 log10 CFU/g at day 7. The films with 3% cinnamaldehyde showed 0.5 to 3 log reductions on different leafy greens at day 7. The films with 0.5% and 1.5% cinnamaldehyde and 0.5% carvacrol also showed varied reductions on different types of leafy greens. Edible films were the most effective against Salmonella on Iceberg lettuce. This study demonstrates the potential of edible films incorporated with carvacrol and cinnamaldehyde to inactivate S. Newport on organic leafy greens.
Antimicrobial edible films made from apples, carrots, and hibiscus calyces can be used by the food industry to inactivate Salmonella in bagged organic leafy green salads. This study provides a scientific basis for large-scale application of edible fruit- and vegetable-based antimicrobial films on foods to improve microbial food safety.