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J Food Prot. 2003 Apr;66(4):668-73.

Antimicrobial effect of spices and herbs on Shigella sonnei and Shigella flexneri.

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Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Food Preservation, Faculty of Agricultural and Applied Biological Sciences, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium.


Of 17 spices and herbs tested at 1% (wt/vol) in Mueller-Hinton (MH) agar, only cloves, thyme, oregano, allspice, basil, rosemary, and marjoram showed antimicrobial effects on Shigella. The MICs of thyme, oregano, basil, and rosemary (as determined by the agar dilution method) ranged from 0.5 to 1% (wt/vol) depending on the Shigella strain used. With the use of various combinations of temperatures (12, 22, and 37 degrees C), pHs (5.0, 5.5, and 6.0), and NaCl concentrations (1, 2, 3, and 4%, wt/vol) and the inclusion or exclusion of thyme or basil at 1% (wt/vol) in an MH agar model system, it was established that basil or thyme can contribute to combination processing as a growth-inhibitory factor for Shigella spp. In the presence of basil and thyme, Shigella flexneri did not develop CFU during the 7-day incubation period for, respectively, 14 and 16 of the 18 tested combinations, while growth was noted in the corresponding temperature-pH-NaCl concentration combinations without basil or thyme. A growth-inhibitory effect on Shigella sonnei was also noted. The results of an orientation study involving the addition of basil and thyme to spaghetti sauce prior to autoclaving and S. sonnei inoculation indicated that basil and thyme contributed to the reduction of S. sonnei after 16 days at 12 degrees C but not at 4 degrees C.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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