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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Food Science Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #67876


item Fleming, Henry

Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/27/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: We recently found that fresh cabbage produces antimicrobial compounds when this vegetable is cut or ground. Four of these compounds were shown to inhibit selected bacteria and yeasts at 1 to 200 parts per million, depending upon compound and type of microorganisms. These concentration are lower than those required for currently used food preservatives. These efour compounds contain sulfur and have distinct odors. However, it is possible that some of the compounds can serve as natural food preservatives, especially in foods where their flavor is compatible with the food. Also, we believe that these compounds may influence the types of microorganisms that convert sliced, salted cabbage into sauerkraut. If so, the compounds may influence the flavor and other quality factors of sauerkraut. A better understanding of the role of these compounds may result in improved quality of sauerkraut, as well as their potential use as snatural preservatives.

Technical Abstract: Selected sulfur compounds found in cabbage and its fermentation product, sauerkraut, were tested for minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) against growth of 15 species of bacteria and 4 species of yeasts. S-Methyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide, sinigrin, and dimethyl sulfide were not antimicrobial at 500 ppm. Dimethyl disulfide retarded but did not prevent growth at 500 ppm. Dimethyl trisulfide had an MIC to bacteria of 200 ppm and to yeast of 20 ppm. Methyl methanethiosulfinate (MMTSO) had an MIC between 50 and 200 ppm for all bacteria, and between 6 and 10 ppm for all yeasts tested. Methyl methanethiosulfonate (MMTSO2) had an MIC between 20 and 100 ppm for bacteria and between 50 and 500 ppm for yeasts. Allyl isothiocyanate had an MIC between 50 and 500 ppm for bacteria and between 1 and 4 ppm for yeasts. MMTSO was 10 to 100 times more inhibitory against Listeria monocytogenes at pH values of 5, 6, and 7 and was much less influenced by pH than was sodium benzoate.