Allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) is a wide-spectrum antimicrobial compound found in mustard seeds, produced when their tissues are disrupted. The formation of AITC in mustard seed is mediated by the myrosinase enzyme which catalyzes the release of volatile AITC from a glucosinolate—sinigrin. Since water is a substrate in the reaction, humidity from the air can be used to activate the release of AITC from mustard seed. In this study, defatted and partially defatted mustard seed meals were ground into powders with particle size ranging from 5 to 300 μm. The mustard seed meal powder (MSMP) samples were enclosed within hermetically sealed glass jars wherein the headspace air was adjusted to 85% or 100% relative humidity at 5, 20, or 35 °C. Data from gas chromatography analysis showed that AITC release rate and amount increased with increasing relative humidity and temperature. Moreover, the release rate can be manipulated by particle size and lipid content of the MSMP samples. The amount of AITC released ranged from 2 to 17 mg/g MSMP within 24 h under the experimental conditions tested. In view of the antimicrobial properties of AITC, the mustard meal powder may be used as a natural antimicrobial material for extending the shelf life of food products.
This study demonstrated that mustard seed meal powder is promising as a natural carrier to deliver allyl isothiocyanate vapor for antimicrobial active packaging applications.