August 11, 2023

Essential Oils in Food

Propelled by the growing consumer intrigue for natural ingredients and their concerns surrounding potentially harmful synthetic additives, there is currently an escalating worldwide desire for essential oils (EOs).

Essential oils, alternatively referred to as volatile or ethereal oils, are aromatic oily fluids obtained from various plant components like buds, flowers, leaves, bark, twigs, seeds, herbs, wood, fruits, and roots. These oils possess characteristics that actively scavenge radicals.

The significance of essential oils within the realm of the food industry arises from their multifaceted properties, encompassing traits such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiviral, antimutagenic, and anticarcinogenic qualities. The key active constituents include thymol, carvacrol, eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, and linalool, even though the precise mechanisms governing their actions remain partially understood.

Antioxidants are proficient at neutralizing radicals implicated in lipid peroxidation. Given the health-protective role that antioxidants play, essential oils can be effectively utilized as additives in food products. Across different historical epochs, the utilization of spices in various food categories to enhance flavors and harness their antioxidant potentials has been widely recognized.

The effectiveness of essential oils is attributed to the presence of inherent phenolic compounds, which situates them as a substantial and health-conscious alternative to synthetic preservatives and chemical additives. The FDA categorizes antimicrobial agents of natural origin, encompassing plant derivatives and their essential oils, as products falling under the designation of Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).
Essential Oils in Food

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