BACKGROUND: In recent years, interest in the use of natural compounds as possible substitutes for chemicals, to prevent microbial food spoilage has grown. The antimicrobial activity of the essential oils (EOs) is well known and nowadays there is renewed interest in their application as natural preservatives in postharvest management. The aims of this study were to characterize the EO extracted from pompia leaves and to evaluate its effectiveness for the control of the postharvest decay agent Penicillium digitatum, when applied as vapor contact in new airtight boxes, supplied with a heating system. RESULTS: Fumigation was performed in vitro and on food using two concentrations of the EO, heated at controlled temperature. The headspace analysis revealed that the heating of the EO favored the evaporation of the volatile compounds, without altering their functionality. The treatments reduced the pathogen growth in vitro and rot on inoculated food by about 50%. CONCLUSION: The chemical analysis of the vapor composition demonstrated that heating the oil did not alter the components and thus the antimicrobial effect of the oil. The treatment by vapor contact with the EO was effective in controlling the pathogen growth in vitro but, above all, it was successful in halving rot in vivo. Due to their bioactivity in the vapor phase, EOs could be delivered as fumigants during postharvest protection; however, the techniques commonly employed are not ideal for simulating real pre-treatment conditions. The new device allows real large-scale conditions to be reproduced. © 2020 Society of Chemical Industry.
Effectiveness of essential oil extracted from pompia leaves against Penicillium digitatum / Danzi, D.; Ladu, G.; Veltkamp Prieto, C.; Garitas Bullon, A.; Petretto, G. L.; Fancello, F.; Venditti, T.. - In: JOURNAL OF THE SCIENCE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE. - ISSN 0022-5142. - 100:9(2020), pp. 3639-3647. [10.1002/jsfa.10394]