Efficacy of combined caprylic acid and thymol treatments for inactivation of Listeria monocytogenes on enoki mushrooms in household and food-service establishments

Seo Young Chung, Tae Jin Cho, Hary Yu, Seon Gyeong Park, Se Ri Kim, Sun Ae Kim, Min Suk Rhee

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3 Scopus citations


Raw enoki mushroom is a high-risk vector for listeriosis, which led to foodborne outbreaks resulting in four deaths in the United States in 2020. This study aimed to investigate the washing method for the inactivation of L. monocytogenes in enoki mushrooms for household and food service establishments. Five methods of washing fresh agricultural products without using disinfectants were selected: (1) rinsing under running water (2 L/min, 10 min), (2–3) dipping in water (200 ml/20 g) at 22 or 40 °C for 10 min, and using (4) 10% NaCl or (5) 5% vinegar at 22 °C for 10 min. The antibacterial efficacy of each washing method along with the final rinse was tested with enoki mushrooms inoculated with a 3-strain cocktail of L. monocytogenes (ATCC 19111, 19115, 19117; ca. 6 log CFU/g). The 5% vinegar showed a significant difference in antibacterial effect compared to the other treatments except 10% NaCl (P < 0.05), with the maximum elimination of L. monocytogenes by 1.23 log CFU/g. Therefore, a disinfectant for enoki mushrooms that can complement the commonly used washing method was developed using antimicrobials (caprylic acid, CA: 0, 0.20, 0.40%; thymol, TM: 0, 0.075, 0.15%). By combined treatment of 0.40% CA and 0.15% TM at 22 °C for 10 min, L. monocytogenes was completely inactivated (>5.55 log reduction CFU/g) and did not recover after enrichment, although individual treatments of antimicrobials showed low bactericidal effects of <1.50 log reduction CFU/g. The bacterial membrane disintegration induced by the disinfectant was analyzed through flow cytometry. Additionally, the sensory scores (odor and appearance) and color parameters (L*, a*, and b*) of enoki mushrooms treated with the disinfectant were not significantly different from those of enoki mushrooms washed with water (P > 0.05). Our findings suggest a washing disinfectant consisting of low concentrations of CA and TM with synergistic antibacterial effects without quality deterioration that can ensure the safe consumption of raw enoki mushrooms in homes and food service establishments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112601
JournalFood Research International
StatePublished - Apr 2023

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  • Caprylic acid
  • Enoki mushroom
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Synergistic effect
  • Thymol
  • Washing disinfectant
  • Washing method


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