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J Food Prot. 2005 Dec;68(12):2571-9.

Effect of gamma radiation and oregano essential oil on murein and ATP concentration of Escherichia coli O157:H7.

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Canadian Irradiation Center and Research Laboratory in Sciences Applied to Food.


This study was carried out to evaluate the effects of gamma radiation alone or in combination with oregano essential oil on the murein composition of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and on the intracellular and extracellular concentrations of ATP. The bacterial strain was treated with three radiation doses: 0.4 kGy to induce cell damage, 1.1 kGy to obtain a viable but non-culturable state, and 1.3 kGy to cause cell death. Oregano essential oil was used at 0.006 and 0.025% (wt/vol), which is the MIC. All treatments had a significant effect (P < or = 0.05) on the murein composition, although some muropeptides did not seem to be affected by the treatment. Each treatment had a different effect on the relative percentage and number of muropeptides. There was a significant correlation (P < or = 0.05) between the decrease in intracellular ATP and the increase in extracellular ATP following treatment of the cells with oregano oil. The reduction of intracellular ATP was even more important when oregano oil was combined with irradiation, but irradiation alone at a high dose (< or = 1.1 kGy) significantly decreased (P < or = 0.05) the internal ATP without affecting the external ATP. Transmission electron microscopic examination revealed that oregano oil and irradiation have an effect on cell wall structure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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