Researchers recently discovered that the essential oil of Citrus aurantium, commonly known as “bitter orange”, exhibits pronounced antimicrobial activity against a variety of pathogenic bacteria – making it a promising candidate for use as a natural preservative.
By Desislava Teneva
People have made use of the antimicrobial properties of plant essential oils for various purposes since ancient times – among others in the preparation of food. Depending on their chemical composition, some essential oils can not only increase a food’s shelf life, but also build its sensory profile and even facilitate the absorption of nutrients.
In recent years, growing health concerns have led to an increase in the demand for food without synthetic preservatives. To this end, novel food processing technologies that use natural antimicrobials are gaining importance, and more people are reconsidering the use of essential oils as an interesting alternative to chemical food preservation.
The bitter orange – more than marmalade
Citrus aurantium, commonly known as sour, bitter, bigarade, or Seville orange, is generally consumed as marmalade while its essential oil finds a use in food flavoring, in the manufacture of perfumes and cosmetics, as well as in herbal medicine.
Researchers have now found that the citrus fruit has even more to offer. According to a recent study from Bulgaria, the essential oil of the bitter orange’s zest shows pronounced anti-microbial activity, especially against gram-positive bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus – a major human pathogen able to cause a wide range of severe infections. In their paper, published in Zeitschrift für Naturforschung C, the researchers also refer to previous studies showing that some chemical components of the bitter orange even have anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
Based on the promising results of their study, the researchers suggest the future application of Citrus aurantium’s zest oil as a natural preservative to increase food safety.
Read the original article here:
Desislava Teneva, Rositsa Denkova-Kostova, Bogdan Goranov, Yana Hristova-Ivanova, Aleksandar Slavchev, Zapryana Denkova & Georgi Kostov: Chemical composition, antioxidant activity and antimicrobial activity of essential oil from Citrus aurantium L zest against some pathogenic microorganisms, 26.01.2019.