Editorial: Natural compounds in food safety and preservation Academic Article uri icon


  • Food safety is a global challenge, with foodborne diseases posed as a relevant concern for human health, and food microbial spoilage being a problem for agri-food companies (1). Considerable research has been dedicated to diverse approaches that can be applied to control foodborne pathogens and microbial spoilage, among which the potential use of natural compounds has been highlighted as a strategy for improving food safety, but also quality and extending selflife (1–3). Furthermore, the negative consumer perception of the synthetic preservatives used in food industry, associated with an increasing demand for maintenance of nutritional and quality properties, has encouraged the pursue for the use of natural-based preservatives in food production (1–3). In this context, in this Research Topic, natural antimicrobial compounds have been highlighted by their activity against Chronobacter spp. in infant powdered formula by Yemi¸s and Delaquis. The authors reviewed the potential of natural compounds from plants, microbial and animal sources as alternatives to synthetic chemical preservatives, addressing nutritional, toxicological, and regulatory issues. In fact, the use of natural antimicrobial compounds needs to be guided considering the regulatory framework, and so the authors suggest the use of well-studied single compounds over multiple-component preparations. Among the natural compounds, essential oils have been pointed as promising antimicrobial mixtures. Yousefi et al. reviewed the potential application of essential oils with antilisterial activity inmeat and poultry products, since contaminatedmeat products are recognized as onemain source for Listeria monocytogenes infection. The authors described the efficiency of several essential oils in the control of L. monocytogenes, whilst addressing the mechanism of action of some selected compounds and the major drawbacks associated with the application of essential oils in food products. The activity of natural compounds in food is dependent of various factors, namely on the complexity and composition of the product, this highlights the need of the validation of antimicrobial activity in food matrixes. Kiprotich et al. explored the use of thyme oil combined with Yucca schidigera extract to marinate raw chicken breast meat in lemon juice. The authors considered the potential of antimicrobial marinade formulations as an approach to reduce enteric pathogens. Based on their results, thyme oil showed to be an enhancer of the inactivation of Salmonella enterica on raw chicken breast, increasing the antimicrobial efficacy of lemon juice marinade containing yucca extract to emulsify the thyme oil.

publication date

  • January 1, 2021