Abstract: Campylobacter jejuni is the leading cause of bacterial diarrheal illness worldwide. Many strains are now becoming multidrug resistant. Apple-based edible films containing carvacrol and cinnamaldehyde were evaluated for bactericidal activity against antibiotic resistant and susceptible C. jejuni strains on chicken. Retail chicken breast samples inoculated with D28a and H2a (resistant strains) and A24a (a sensitive strain) were wrapped in apple films containing cinnamaldehyde or carvacrol at 0.5%, 1.5%, and 3% concentrations, and then incubated at 4 or 23 °C for 72 h. Immediately after wrapping and at 72 h, samples were plated for enumeration of viable C. jejuni. The antimicrobial films exhibited dose- and temperature-dependent bactericidal activity against all strains. Films with ≥1.5% cinnamaldehyde reduced populations of all strains to below detection at 23 °C at 72 h. At 4 °C with cinnamaldehyde, reductions were variable for all strains, ranging from 0.2 to 2.5 logs and 1.8 to 6.0 logs at 1.5% and 3.0%, respectively. Films with 3% carvacrol reduced populations of A24a and H2a to below detection, and D28a by 2.4 logs at 23 °C and 72 h. A 0.5-log reduction was observed for both A24a and D28a, and 0.9 logs for H2a at 4 °C at 3% carvacrol. Reductions ranged from 1.1 to 1.9 logs and 0.4 to 1.2 logs with 1.5% and 0.5% carvacrol at 23 °C, respectively. The films with cinnamaldehyde were more effective than carvacrol films. Reductions at 23 °C were greater than those at 4 °C. Our results showed that antimicrobial apple films have the potential to reduce C. jejuni on chicken and therefore, the risk of campylobacteriosis. Possible mechanisms of antimicrobial effects are discussed.
Practical Application: Apple antimicrobial films could potentially be used in retail food packaging to reduce C. jejuni commonly present on food.