Oregano Contains Antimicrobial Substances

In addition to antioxidative properties of various spice substances, food scientists are currently searching for new natural substances from spices and herbs, which would have uses as natural food preservatives. For example investigations on prolongation of storage life of vegetables and root vegetables like potato have involved herbs and spices and their essential oils. Prevention of deterioration due to microbial growth in warm countries for example in Mediterranean area, where spices and herbs belong to everyday cuisine would be easily applied in food science.

Already in 1948 it was shown by Dold and Knapp (1948) that spices belonging to Lamiaceae family had antimicrobial activity. Inhibitory ability of ethanol extracts of oregano against Clostridium botulinum was reported by Huhtanen in 1980 and by Ueda et al. in 1982, and reduction of aflatoxin production in culture medium of Aspergillus paraciticus by ground oregano was shown by Salzer (1982) in the same year. Salmeron etal. (1990) have reported that although oregano stimulates the growth of both A. paraciticus and Aspergillus flavus, at the same time it acts as antiaflatogenics.

Antimicrobial activity of oregano has been found at least against such organisms as Bacillus cereus, Acinetobacter baumanii, Aeromonas veronii, bg sobria, Candida albicans, Candida lipolytica, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enterica subsp., Enterica typhimurium, Salmonella enteritidis, Serratia marcescens, Staphylococcus aureus, Aspergillus ochraceus, A. flavus, A. paraciticus, Clostridium perfringens, Erwinia carotovora, Listeria monocytogenes, Lactobacillus plantarum, Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Debaryomyces hansenii, Hansenula anomala, Kloeckera apiculata, Lodderomyces elongiporus, Rhodotorula rubra, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Torulopsis glabrata.

The main results of the studies made mainly in the 1980s and 1990s and which were involved with antimicrobial effects of oregano are listed in Table 9.1.

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