Food Engineering Reviews

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 141–148

Hurdle Approach to Increase the Microbial Inactivation by High Pressure Processing: Effect of Essential Oils

  • Elisa Gayán
  • J. Antonio Torres
  • Daniel Paredes-Sabja
Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12393-012-9055-y

Cite this article as:
Gayán, E., Torres, J.A. & Paredes-Sabja, D. Food Eng Rev (2012) 4: 141. doi:10.1007/s12393-012-9055-y


Consumer demand for improved quality and fresh-like food products has led to the development of new nonthermal preservation methods. High pressure processing (HPP) is currently the novel nonthermal technology best established in the food processing industry. However, many potential HPP applications would require long treatment times to ensure an adequate inactivation level of pathogens and spoilage microorganisms. High hydrostatic pressure and the addition of essential oils (EOs) have similar effects on microbial structures and thus they may act synergistically on the inactivation of microorganisms. Therefore, the combination of high hydrostatic pressure with EOs is a promising alternative to expand the HPP food industry. In this work, findings on this scarcely investigated hurdle option have been reviewed with a focus on the mechanisms involved. The main mechanisms involved are as follows: (1) membrane permeability induced by HPP and EOs facilitating the uptake of EOs by bacterial cells; (2) generation of reactive oxygen species via the Fenton reaction; (3) impairment of the proton motive force and electron flow; and (4) disruption of the protein–lipid interaction at the cell membrane altering numerous cellular functions. The effectiveness of a specific EO in enhancing the microbial inactivation level achieved by HPP treatments depends on the microbial ecology of the food product, the molecular mechanisms of the microbial inactivation by HPP, and the mode of action of the EO being used.


Hurdle technology Essential oil Microbial inactivation High pressure processing Bacterial inactivation mechanism 

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisa Gayán
    • 2
  • J. Antonio Torres
    • 1
  • Daniel Paredes-Sabja
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Food Process Engineering Group, Department of Food Science and TechnologyCollege of Agricultural Sciences, Oregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.Tecnología de Alimentos, Facultad de VeterinariaUniversidad de ZaragozaZaragozaSpain
  3. 3.Laboratorio de Mecanismos de Patogénesis Bacteriana, Departamento de Ciencias Biológicas, Facultad de Ciencias BiológicasUniversidad Andrés BelloSantiagoChile
  4. 4.Department of Biomedical SciencesCollege of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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