Med. Weter. 80 (4), 149-155, 2024

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Use of essentialoils in meatprocessing
Essential oils are natural plant products with rich chemical composition and various properties. They are obtained by extraction from plant parts such as flowers, buds, stems, twigs, seeds, fruits, roots, bark and leaves. They contain over sixty organic compounds with low molecular weight, including: phenolic and terpene compounds, aliphatic alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, acids and isoflavonoids. The composition, concentration and proportions of chemical components in essential oils determine their properties. Essential oils have a significant impact on living organisms, including antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Depending on the concentration used, essential oils positively or negatively affect the sensory properties of meat products. It is important to obtain a sensorially acceptable concentration of essential oil in the product, which will also ensure effective antimicrobial activity. By applying several essential oils at the same time or using other preservatives or preservation and packaging methods with them, a synergistic effect can be achieved, thanks to which the concentration of the essential oil in the product can be reduced. Factors that can influence the antimicrobial effect of essential oils in food products include: food structure, composition, pH, storage conditions and the type of saprophytic microbiota in the product. Essential oils can have a positive impact on the microbiological quality of food and can be used in the food industry as a factor inhibiting the growth of saprophytic microorganisms that affect the durability of food and pathogenic bacteria that cause food poisoning.
Key words: essential oils, meat, meat products, antimicrobial activity