Food Engineering Reviews

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 275–297 | Cite as

Essential Oils: Antimicrobial Activities, Extraction Methods, and Their Modeling

  • Fatima Reyes-Jurado
  • Avelina Franco-Vega
  • Nelly Ramírez-Corona
  • Enrique Palou
  • Aurelio López-Malo
Review Article


Worldwide there is a wide variety of plants and spices that have different uses according to the culture and traditions of each region. Essential oils are gaining interest from the academic and industrial communities since they have been associated with possible antimicrobial activity against a wide range of microorganisms. Essential oil extraction can be made by traditional or emergent methods; nowadays, mathematical models are being developed for these methods in order to design efficient industrial processes. Although the majority of the essential oils are classified as GRAS, their use in foods as preservatives is often limited due to flavor considerations, since effective antimicrobial doses may exceed sensory acceptable levels. The antimicrobial effect of each essential oil mainly depends on the quality and quantity of their components, which are affected by different factors such as the environmental conditions of the growing season of the plant as well as the extraction method. The most common methods used to evaluate the antimicrobial activity of essential oils in vitro are diffusion and dilution (direct contact) or vapor-phase (gaseous contact) methods. This review focuses on available methods for extraction of essential oils and their mathematical modeling, as well as their application as antimicrobial agents.


Essential oils Extraction Mathematical modeling Antimicrobial activity In vitro evaluation 



Authors acknowledge financial support from the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT) of Mexico and Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP). Authors Reyes-Jurado and Franco-Vega gratefully acknowledge financial support for their PhD studies from CONACyT and UDLAP.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fatima Reyes-Jurado
    • 1
  • Avelina Franco-Vega
    • 1
  • Nelly Ramírez-Corona
    • 1
  • Enrique Palou
    • 1
  • Aurelio López-Malo
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Alimentos y AmbientalUniversidad de las Américas PueblaCholulaMexico

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