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ABSTRACT

The effectiveness of essential oil application in foods is the result of factor associations such as composition and storage temperatures. The aim was to evaluate the effectiveness of clove and tea tree essential oils to control Escherichia coli O157:H7 on blanched spinach and minced cooked beef exposed at 8 and 20C For both essential oils, the highest concentrations (three and four times minimal inhibitory concentrations) were needed to restrict O157:H7 populations in blanched spinach and minced cooked beef, respectively. The antimicrobial action of these essential oils was dependent on the oil concentration, the food composition and the storage temperature. The inhibition of pathogen and native microorganisms was more important at high temperatures than at low temperatures. Preliminary findings in actual foods suggest that clove and tea tree oils could be used as potential biopreservatives capable of controlling foodborne pathogens when foods are exposed to abusive temperatures.