Basil Essential Oil: Composition, Antimicrobial Properties, and Microencapsulation to Produce Active Chitosan Films for Food Packaging
The essential oil (EO) from basil&mdash;Ocimum basilicum&mdash;was characterized, microencapsulated by vibration technology, and used to prepare a new type of packaging system designed to extend the food shelf life. The basil essential oil (BEO) chemical composition and antimicrobial activity were analyzed, as well as the morphological and biological properties of the derived BEO microcapsules (BEOMC). Analysis of BEO by gas chromatography demonstrated that the main component was linalool, whereas the study of its antimicrobial activity showed a significant inhibitory effect against all the microorganisms tested, mostly Gram-positive bacteria. Moreover, the prepared BEOMC showed a spheroidal shape and retained the EO antimicrobial activity. Finally, chitosan-based edible films were produced, grafted with BEOMC, and characterized for their physicochemical and biological properties. Since their effective antimicrobial activity was demonstrated, these films were tested as packaging system by wrapping cooked ham samples during 10 days of storage, with the aim of their possible use to extend the shelf life of the product. It was demonstrated that the obtained active film can both control the bacterial growth of the cooked ham and markedly inhibit the pH increase of the packaged food.