Effect of lemongrass essential oil against multidrug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg and its attachment to chicken skin and meat

Grace Dewi, Divek V.T. Nair, Claire Peichel, Timothy J. Johnson, Sally Noll, Anup Kollanoor Johny

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18 Scopus citations


Salmonella Heidelberg (S. Heidelberg) is a major pathogen implicated in foodborne outbreaks for which poultry products can serve as an epidemiological source. This study determined the efficacy of GRAS-status lemongrass essential oil (LGEO) against S. Heidelberg in vitro and on the pathogen's attachment to skin and meat. At first, employing in vitro assays, the effect of LGEO on multidrug-resistant S. Heidelberg multiplication and motility was examined. Biofilm inhibition and inactivation assays were also performed. The quorum-sensing modulating effect of LGEO was determined. In follow-up experiments, chicken skin or meat samples inoculated with S. Heidelberg were treated with various concentrations of LGEO at different time points at simulated scalding (54°C) and chilling (4°C) temperatures. The samples were incubated, and the surviving populations of S. Heidelberg were enumerated to determine if LGEO could be a potential processing aid in poultry operations. Duplicate samples were included in each treatment, and the experiments were repeated at least 3 times. Significant reductions of S. Heidelberg of at least 4.0 log10 CFU/mL after 24 h in nutrient broth and poultry cecal contents was observed with 0.5% LGEO. Complete inhibition of motility, biofilm formation, and inactivation of pre-formed biofilms was observed with 0.15% LGEO (P ≤ 0.05). Concentrations of LGEO at 0.5% and 1% affected violacein production (P ≤ 0.05). On skin samples, all concentrations significantly reduced S. Heidelberg by 1.2 to 3.9 log10 CFU/sample after 2 min at 54°C. We obtained a significant reduction of the pathogen in meat samples at 54°C and skin samples at 4°C with 2% LGEO. All concentrations significantly reduced S. Heidelberg from the treatment water kept at 4°C and 54°C (P ≤ 0.05). In conclusion, LGEO could potentially serve as a natural antimicrobial strategy in scalding and chilling waters to reduce S. Heidelberg during processing. However, additional studies are warranted before recommending its commercial use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101116
JournalPoultry science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the USDA NIFA Hatch projects (Accession# 1004609 and 1016910 ) through Minnesota Agricultural Experimentation Station (# MIN-16-102 & MIN-16-120).

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the Department of Animal Science Rising Scholar Scholarship and the MnDRIVE Graduate Fellowship at the University of Minnesota awarded to the G. Dewi during the studies and publication of this manuscript. Mr. Jason Langlie, the lab manager during the study, is acknowledged and thanked for his assistance in preparing the essential media and buffers for this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • Salmonella Heidelberg
  • broiler chicken meat
  • lemongrass essential oil
  • skin


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