The use of natural antimicrobial compounds in food has gained much attention by the consumers and the food industry. This is primarily due to two major factors. First, the misuse and mishandling of antibiotics has resulted in the dramatic rise of a group of microorganisms including foodborne pathogens that are not only antibiotic resistant but also more tolerant to several food processing and preservation methods. In addition, increasing consumers’ awareness of the potential negative impact of synthetic preservatives on health versus the benefits of natural additives has generated interest among researchers in the development and use of natural products in foods. Essential oils are volatile, natural, complex compounds characterized by a strong odor and are formed by aromatic plants as secondary metabolites. The bioactivity properties of essential oils are generally determined by the major compounds present in them. They have been widely used for bactericidal, virucidal, fungicidal, antiparasitical, insecticidal, medicinal, and antioxidant applications. The biological activity of the oils can be compared with the activity of synthetically produced pharmacological preparations. Thus, essential oils are promising natural extracts that need further evaluation for possible application as supplement, preservatives, or antioxidants in food or pharmaceutical industries.
Part of the book: Essential Oils