The volatile oil from Citrus aurantifolia (Christim) Swingle (lime) fruit peel is abundantly used as flavoring agent in food industries. In this study chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of essential oil Citrus aurantifolia against food-borne pathogens was determined to investigate its potential in reducing microbial population of cream-filled baked goods. Fifty componenets were identified in Citrus aurantifolia essential oil by GC-MS analysis and limonene, α-terpineol and γ-terpinen were the most abundant constituents. The results of bioburden determination showed that cream-filled cakes and pastries were mainly contaminated with Staphylococcus epidermidis and Bacillus subtilis. Lime essential oil showed potent antibacterial activity against spoilage bacteria. MICs (Minimum Inhibitory Concentration) of lime essential oil against S. epidermidis and B. subtilis were determined 4 and 8 μL disc-1, respectively. By using 16 and 32 μL mL-1 of essential oil, more than 99.9% reduction in S. epidermidis and B. subtilis counts were observed, respectively. The use of Citrus aurantifolia essential oil in concentrations higher than MIC value can improve shelf life of cream-filled cakes and pastries. According to our results, lime oil can increase the time needed for the spoilage bacteria to reach concentrations able to produce a perceivable spoilage and it may consequently reduce the risk of diseases associated with consumption of contaminated products.
S. Jafari, S. Esfahani, M.R. Fazeli, H. Jamalifar, M. Samadi, N. Samadi, A. Najarian Toosi, M.R. Shams Ardekani and M. Khanavi, 2011. Antimicrobial Activity of Lime Essential Oil Against Food-borne Pathogens Isolated from Cream-filled Cakes and Pastries. International Journal of Biological Chemistry, 5: 258-265.