Reduction of Listeria monocytogenes in Raw Catfish Fillets by Essential Oils and Phenolic Constituent Carvacrol



Abstract:  The antimicrobial activity of various essential oils and carvacrol was determined on fresh raw catfish fillets against a 4-strain Listeria monocytogenes mixture representing serotypes 1/2b, 3b, 4b, and 4c that were predominantly isolated from catfish processing environments. Thyme oil, oregano oil and carvacrol exhibited concentration and time dependent responses in broth against L. monocytogenes; for example 0.5% concentrations resulted in 4 log CFU/mL reduction within 30 min whereas 0.1% concentrations required more than 24 h for the same level of reduction. Lemon, orange, and tangerine oils, at 0.5% showed listeriostatic effect in which 4 log CFU/mL of the initial L. monocytogenes load was unchanged at 4 °C in 10 d whereas 1% concentrations were listericidal in a time dependent manner. Apart from carvacrol, efficacy of tested essential oils in reducing L. monocytogenes and total microbial load from catfish fillet was very limited. Dipping treatment of catfish fillets in 2% carvacrol solution for 30 min at 4 °C reduced L. monocytogenes to an undetectable level from their initial load of 5 log CFU/g and reduced total microbial load from catfish fillets by approximately 5 log CFU/g. In sensory analysis trained panelist preferred control samples over 2% carvacrol treated samples implying potential limitation in applicability of carvacrol for fillet treatments.