Investigation of the Yield and Composition of Essential Oils of Culinary Herbs before and after Decontamination
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Herbs and spices are widely used in food industry due to the presence of nutrients and nonnutritive biologically active compounds. Their primary functions are to provide diversified taste, smell and colour to products. Additionally, spices provide preservative, nutritional and health function. Most spices owe their unique flavour character mainly to essential oil content. Essential oils that are mixtures of volatile fragrant compounds are used as natural antioxidants as well as antimicrobial agents against food-borne pathogens and food spoilage bacteria. Fresh and dried spices are contaminated by microorganisms that should be removed before introducing them to food products in order to ensure their safety and prolong shelf life. Sterilization, including steam sterilization, is the common method used for spices decontamination. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of steam sterilization on the amount and composition of essential oil of two common leaf spices, mint and sage.
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