K. Meera Sankarankutty* and Nisha Chede


Cronobacter species, isolated from a wide variety of foods have been described as an ubiquitous opportunistic pathogen causing neonatal bacteremia and meningitis. This organism is found in water and the soil environment and also reported to be prevalent in infant milk formula, milk cartons & fermented breads. Dried coconut is a condiment used widely in India as a base for several food preparations. C. sakazakii has been recently isolated from dried coconut in our laboratory. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of spices on C. sakazakii in order to prevent the contamination of foods using dried coconut. In this study, different extracts of spices red chilli, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, fennel, mint leaves, asafoetida, star anise, bay leaf and poppy seeds were made using methanol, ethanol, acetone, chloroform including aqueous extracts of spices. Antimicrobial activity of spice extracts was assessed by using agar well diffusion technique both singly and synergistically. Ethanolic extract of asafoetida was found to have highest activity against C. sakazakii. Fennel, fenugreek, coriander seeds and star anise did not show any activity against the test culture. The combination of turmeric- poppy seeds showed effective synergism against the test culture. Minimum inhibitory concentration of selected spices was also determined against both isolated and pure culture of C. sakazakii. Minimum inhibitory concentration of curcumin was determined and found to be 0.04mg and 0.055mg against pure and isolated culture of C. sakazakii respectively. The results showed that the antimicrobial activity of these spices against the opportunistic pathogen C. sakazakii suggesting their use as natural food preservatives in the food containing dried coconut.

Keywords: Cronobacter sakazakii, antimicrobial activity, synergistic activity, minimum inhibitory concentration, agar well diffusion.

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