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Journal of Applied Microbiology

Antimicrobial activity of hop extracts against foodborne pathogens for meat applications

B. Kramer, J. Thielmann, A. Hickisch, P. Muranyi, J. Wunderlich and C. Hauser

Bernd Kramer, Department of Food Quality, Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging (IVV), Giggenhauser Str. 35, D-85354 Freising, Germany.



The objective of this study was the fundamental investigation of the antimicrobial efficiency of various hop extracts against selected foodborne pathogens in vitro, as well as their activity against Listeria monocytogenes in a model meat marinade and on marinated pork tenderloins.

Methods and Results

In a first step, the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of three hop extracts containing either α- or β-acids or xanthohumol were determined against test bacteria including L. monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli by a colorimetric method based on the measurement of bacterial metabolic activity. Moreover, the influence of either lactic or citric acid on the antimicrobial activity of the hop extracts was evaluated. The efficiency of hop extracts as a natural food preservative was then tested in a model meat marinade at 2 and 8°C, respectively, and finally on marinated pork. The experiments showed that Gram-positive bacteria were strongly inhibited by hop extracts containing β-acids and xanthohumol (MIC values of 6·3 and 12·5 ppm, respectively), whereas the antimicrobial activity of the investigated α-acid extract was significantly lower (MIC values of 200 ppm). Gram-negative bacteria were highly resistant against all tested hop extracts. Acidification of the test media led to a decrease of the MIC values. The inhibitory activity of the hop extracts against L. monocytogenes was strongly reduced in a fat-containing model meat marinade, but the efficiency of β-acids in this matrix could be increased by lowering pH and storage temperatures. By applying 0·5 % β-acids at pH = 5 in a model marinade, the total aerobic count of pork tenderloins was reduced up to 0·9 log10 compared with marinated pork without hop extract after 2 weeks of storage at 5°C.


β-acid containing hop extracts have proven to possess a high antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive bacteria in vitro and in a practice-related application for food preservation.

Significance and Impact of the Study

Antimicrobial hop extracts could be used as natural preservatives in food applications to extend the shelf life and to increase the safety of fresh products

Keywords:food safety;hop extracts;meat;natural preservative;pathogens;-a



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