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J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Dec 26;61(51):12720-6. doi: 10.1021/jf4043437. Epub 2013 Dec 12.

Thymol nanoemulsified by whey protein-maltodextrin conjugates: the enhanced emulsifying capacity and antilisterial properties in milk by propylene glycol.

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Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Tennessee , 2510 River Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996, United States.


The objective of this research was to enhance the capability of whey protein isolate-maltodextrin conjugates in nanoemulsifying thymol using propylene glycol to improve antilisterial properties in milk. Thymol was predissolved in PG and emulsified in 7% conjugate solution. Transparent dispersions with mean diameters of <30 nm were observed up to 1.5%w/v thymol. In skim and 2% reduced fat milk, Listeria monocytogenes Scott A was reduced from ∼5 log CFU/mL to below the detection limit in 6 h by 0.1% w/v and 0.45% w/v nanoemulsified thymol, respectively, contrasting with gradual reductions to 1.15 and 2.26 log CFU/mL after 48 h by same levels of free thymol. In full fat milk, L. monocytogenes was gradually reduced to be undetectable after 48 h by 0.6% w/v nanoemulsified thymol, contrasting with the insignificant reduction by free thymol. The improved antilisterial activities of nanoemulsified thymol resulted from the increased solubility in milk and synergistic activity with propylene glycol.

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