Use of essential oils and plant extracts for food preservation
Essential oils (EOs) are plant extracts, widely proposed and used for food preservation for their bactericidal, virucidal, fungicidal, antiparasitical and insecticidal properties. From a chemical point of view, EOs are complex natural mixtures which contain about 20–60 components at quite different concentrations. However, they are characterized by two or three major components (active compounds) at fairly high concentrations (20-70 percent) compared to other components present in trace amounts. Some example of EOs are: rosemary, oregano, citrus and Salvia officinalis extracts, as well as thymol, carvacrol, limonene, cinnamaldehyde and eugenol. Therefore, after a brief description of the most important findings for each compound/oil, the paper will report some case studies dealing with food application of citrus extract.