Wild berry is an excellent source of phytonutrients and/or bioactive compounds associated with significant therapeutic properties, so that they have been utilized in folk medicine and traditional nutrition throughout centuries. Multiple health-promoting effects, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-heart and coronary disease propertie...s were attributed to such wild berries. It has also been proved that berries could feature antimicrobial effects that could be of a great importance for the prevention of food-feed poisoning and fighting back antibiotic resistance.
In this study, we investigated the antimicrobial properties of lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), raspberry (Rubus idaeus) and blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) crude and ethanolic extracts prepared from fruits obtained from the spontaneous flora of Eastern Carpathian Mountains situated in Transylvania. The antimicrobial effect of crude and alcoholic extracts were assessed on four Gram-negative, five Gram-positive bacteria and one yeast species using the agar diffusion method. The studied bacteria can cause food or feed spoilage and foodborne diseases. Our results indicate the significant inhibitory effect of lingonberry extracts in the case of Gram-negative bacteria like Proteus vulgaris and Salmonella Hartford, while among Gram-positive bacteria the strongest inhibitory effect was observed for Bacillus species like B. cereus, B. subtilis, B. mojavensis and Micrococcus luteus. The raspberry and blackberry extracts featured milder inhibitory effects in the case of the studied bacteria species. Furthermore, we have studied the crude or ethanolic extract combinations associated antimicrobial effects synergistic/additive or antagonistic properties. Interestingly, the triple and double ethanolic extract mixes had stronger antimicrobial properties, whereas the crude extract mixes showed relatively reduced effects, if any. Our results indicate that the antimicrobial activity of studied fruit extracts obtained from wild berries can vary upon the applied extraction method and their combination formulae, so that all these considerations must be taken into account when such fruit extracts are considered for foodstuff development.
Essential oil extraction of wild caraway and thyme was performed using a classical (HD) and microwave hydro-distillation (MWHD) and a laboratory supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) with a carbon dioxide as solvent. Our experiments demonstrated that the extraction yield of the essential oil performed in same conditions was influenced by the loc...ation of growth area; the maximum extraction yield of 10 ml 100 g-1 caraway was obtained from dried seeds collected from Csíkmadaras. This quantity far exceeded the yield of the Újtusnád samples. In the case of wild caraway (Carum carvi L.), the extraction method influenced thecomposition of the essential oil (carvone/limonene ratio), the highest limonene content being achieved by classical hydro-distillation. In the case of thyme, this effect was not detected, the thymol/carvacrol ratio was independent from the given extraction method. The obtained thyme essential oil possesses high antimicrobial activity demonstrated by agar diffusion test. The thyme extract provides a good protection against microorganisms collected on the surface of fresh vegetables following bacterial stains: Citrobacter portucalensis, Pseudomonas hunanensis, Pseudomonas baetica, Pseudomonas parafulva, Bacillus mojavensis and Enterobacter cloacae. Protective effect was also detected on the vegetable surface of by chitosan-based edible film coating during a 6-day-long storage period at a temperature of 4 °C. The caraway essential oil used as soft cheese seasoning with a direct, dilution-free method, proved to be unsuitable because the uneven distribution and confer a strong, unpleasant taste to the product in comparison with the ground wild caraway seed-dressed cheese.