Technological application of essential oils, as natural sanitizing agents, to reduce food pathogens in the post-harvest processing of foods requires the establishment of the optimal conditions. The present work evaluated the parameters of antimicrobial activity of the essential oils of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globules), tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), mint (Mentha piperita), rosa moschata (Rosa moschata), clove (Syzygium aromaticum), lemon (Citrus limonum), oregano (Origanum vulgare), pine (Pinus silvestrys) and sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) on survival and growth of different strains of E. coli O157:H7. The strains of E. coli exhibited similar susceptibilities to the action of the essential oils assayed. The essential oil with the lowest MIC and MBC (Minimum Inhibitory and Bactericidal Concentration, respectively) was clove (0.25 ml/100 ml and 0.3 ml/100 ml, respectively) and the results demonstrated that clove exerted a significant bactericidal and bacteriostatic action. © 2004 Swiss Society of Food Science and Technology. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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