Abstract: To determine the active antimicrobial compounds in oregano essential oil (EO) and investigate its stability properties and release kinetics in antimicrobial carton, the antimicrobial activities of oregano EO against four fungi were investigated, and its composition was analyzed by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Active antimicrobial compounds in oregano EO were confirmed by NaOH treated oregano EO, combined with GC-MS analysis. Antimicrobial activity against Botrytis cinerea, and the effects of light, temperature, humidity, and pH values on the stability of the active compounds were estimated. The release of the active compounds in antimicrobial carton was determined by gas chromatography (GC). The results showed that oregano EO displayed effective antimicrobial activities against the test fungi, both the main component and the active compound were carvacrol (83.06%). Under strong alkali condition, the antimicrobial activity of oregano EO was damaged and the UV absorbance values of carvacrol at 217 and 276 nm were changed. Natural light, different humidity and temperature treatment of 60 ℃ showed no significant effect on the stability of carvacrol (P>0.05). GC results showed that the amount of carvacrol released in antimicrobial carton containing 3% (volume fraction) oregano EO was higher than those of other cartons, and its relative content was still 10.18% on day 4. This research provides theoretical guidance for the application of phenolic antimicrobial agents of plant origin for the storage of fruits and vegetables.
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