Evaluation of five essential oils from aromatic plants of Cameroon for controlling food spoilage and mycotoxin-producing fungi.
Five essential oils (EO) extracted from Cymbopogon citratus, Monodora myristica, Ocimum gratissimum, Thymus vulgaris and Zingiber officinale were investigated for their inhibitory effect against three food spoilage and mycotoxin producing fungi, Fusarium moniliforme, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus fumigatus. Five strains of each fungus were tested. The agar dilution technique was used to determine the inhibitory effect of each EO on the radial growth of the fungus, and a dose response was recorded. The EO from O. gratissimum, T. vulgaris and C. citratus were the most effective and prevented conidial germination and the growth of all three fungi on corn meal agar at 800, 1000 and 1200 ppm, respectively. Moderate activity was observed for the EO from Z. officinale between 800 and 2500 ppm, while the EO from M. myristica was less inhibitory. These effects against food spoilage and mycotoxin producing fungi indicated the possible ability of each essential oil as a food preservative. A comparative test on the preservative ability of the EO from O. gratissimum and potassium sorbate against A. flavus at pH 3.0 and 4.5 showed that the EO remained stable at both pH, whereas the efficacy of potassium sorbate was reduced at higher pH. We concluded that the EO from O. gratissimum is a potential food preservative with a pH dependent superiority against potassium sorbate, and these are novel scientific information.