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Int J Food Microbiol. 2001 Mar 20;64(3):373-8.

Influence of carvacrol on growth and toxin production by Bacillus cereus.

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Agrotechnological Research Institute (ATO-DLO), Wageningen, The Netherlands Wageningen Centre for Food Sciences, Wageningen, The Netherlands.


The natural antimicrobial compound carvacrol was investigated for its effect on diarrheal toxin production by Bacillus cereus. Carvacrol (0-0.06 mg/ml) reduced the viable count and the maximal specific growth rate (mumax) of B. cereus in BHI broth. The total amount of protein was not affected by carvacrol. However, a sharp decrease (80%) in diarrheal toxin production was observed in the presence of 0.06 mg/ml carvacrol. Carvacrol also inhibited toxin production in soup, but approximately 50-fold higher concentrations were needed to achieve the same effect as in broth. From this study it can be concluded that carvacrol can be added to food products at doses below the MIC value, thereby reducing the risk of toxin production by B. cereus and increasing the safety of the products.

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