Antimicrobial activity of nanodispersed thymol in tryptic soy broth
Shah, B., P. M. Davidson, and Q. Zhong.  2013.  Journal of Food Protection, 76:440-447.

Food safety is a continuing challenge for the food industry due to sporadic illness outbreaks caused by foodborne pathogens. Plant essential oils have been studied extensively as natural antimicrobials to control foodborne pathogens. However, their hydrophobic nature makes application in foods difficult because of their low water solubility, adverse impact on sensory quality, and binding with food components, which can interfere with antimicrobial efficacy. The objective of this study was to characterize antimicrobial activities of transparent nanodispersions of thymol encapsulated in whey protein isolate-maltodextrin conjugates, with comparison to free thymol. Tests were conducted for Escherichia coli O157:H7 strains ATCC 43889 and 43894, Salmonella Typhimurium strain 2576, Listeria monocytogenes strains Scott A and 101, and Staphylococcus aureus strains 27708 and SA113 in tryptic soy broth at various pHs and temperatures. Results indicate that the MIC for nanodispersed and free thymol against all strains of both gram-negative and gram-positive pathogens tested was 500 ppm at pH 6.8 and at the optimal growth temperature, with the exception of E. coli O157:H7 and L. monocytogenes strain Scott A, which were inhibited by 300 ppm of free thymol. Nanodispersed thymol was further tested at 500 ppm for inhibition of E. coli O157:H7 and L. monocytogenes at 35, 32, 25, and 4 degrees C in tryptic soy broth adjusted to pH 5.5 and 3.5. At pH 5.5, L. monocytogenes was completely inhibited after 3 h, and E. coli O157:H7 showed a reduction of 1.0 to 3.0 log CFU/ml after 48 h. At pH 3.5, L. monocytogenes controls did not grow, but E. coli O157:H7 survived. At both pH 5.5 and 3.5, no significant effect of temperature on antimicrobial activity was observed at 500 mg/ml nanodispersed thymol. The present study demonstrated that transparent nanodispersions of thymol have promising antimicrobial activity against a broad spectrum of foodborne pathogens.