International journal of food microbiology

The effect of carvacrol on enteric viruses.

PMID 25310265


Carvacrol, a monoterpenic phenol, is said to have extensive antimicrobial activity in a wide range of food spoilage or pathogenic fungi, yeast and bacteria. The aim of this study was to assess its antiviral activity on norovirus surrogates, feline calicivirus (FCV), murine norovirus (MNV), and hepatitis A virus (HAV), as well as its potential in food applications. Initially, different concentrations of carvacrol (0.25, 0.5, 1%) were individually mixed with each virus at titers of ca. 6-7 log TCID50/ml and incubated 2h at 37°C. Carvacrol at 0.5% completely inactivated the two norovirus surrogates, whereas 1% concentration was required to achieve ca. 1 log reduction of HAV. In lettuce wash water, carvacrol efficacy on MNV was dependent on the chemical oxygen demand (COD), with no effect over 300 ppm. A 4 log reduction in FCV infectivity was observed when 0.5% carvacrol was used to sanitize lettuce wash water, regardless of COD. Carvacrol was also evaluated as a natural disinfectant of produce, showing 1% carvacrol reduced inoculated NoV surrogates titers in lettuce by 1 log after 30 min contact. These results represent a step forward in improving food safety by using carvacrol as an alternative natural additive to reduce viral contamination in the fresh vegetable industry.