There are many food-borne pathogens in the wild and they are considered the cause of serious public health problems in both developed and developing countries. The use of natural products, such as antimicrobial compounds, has been increasing, in an attempt to control bacteria present in foods, mainly pathogens resistant to conventional antibiotics. This chapter is intended to provide the antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of essential oils of Cinnamomum zeylanicum (cinnamon), Origanum vulgare (oregano), Zingiber officinale (ginger), Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary), Citrus latifolia (tahiti lemon) and Curcuma longa (saffron) as well as to determinate its chemical composition. The oils had been extracted by hydrodistillation with a Clevenger type apparatus and the antimicrobial activity was performed against standard strains Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. The antioxidant activity was carried out using the ABTS [2,2-azinobis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid)] method. The essential oils presented a mixture of mono- and sesquiterpenes. The best minimum inhibitory concentration was determined to C. zeylanicum against S. aureus. O. vulgare antioxidant activity presented inhibition of 90.74% and EC50 of 14 μg mL−1. These results demonstrate that the essential oils analyzed presented efficient antibacterial activity and antioxidant action being able to satisfy the demand of use as control of microorganisms in the food.
Part of the book: Essential Oils