Phenolic Antioxidants

Phenolic antioxidants including, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), propyl gallate (PG) and tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), are used in foods primarily to delay autoxidation of unsaturated lipids. The first report on the antibacterial effectiveness of BHA was that of Chang and Branen (42) in which E. coli, Salmonella typhimurium, and Staphylococcus aureus were inhibited in nutrient broth. Subsequent studies generally demonstrate that Gram-positive bacteria are more susceptible to BHA than Gram-negative bacteria. BHT is generally less effective than other phenolic antioxidants (43). TBHQ is an extremely effective inhibitor of Gram-positive bacteria including S. aureus and Listeria monocytogenes at concentrations generally less than 64 //g/mL (43).

BHA inhibits Aspergillus flavus,A. parasiticus, Penicillium, Geotrichum, Byssochlamys, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae in microbiological media (43). In addition to growth inhibition, BHA inhibits production of the mycotoxins (43).

A number of studies have been carried out to determine the antimicrobial effectiveness of phenolic antioxidants in foods (43). In nearly all studies, the concentration of phenolic antioxidants required for inhibition in a food, especially a meat product, is significantly higher than that needed for in vitro inhibition. This is probably because the presence of lipid or protein dramatically decreases the activity of phenolic antioxidants due to binding (44). Application studies in lower fat and protein products have shown more promise.

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