Limonene is a monoterpenoid compound, which is founded in a lot of plants’ essential oils with good antibacterial activity against food-borne pathogens, but it has an ambiguous antimicrobial susceptibility and mechanism against Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes)
. In this study, the antimicrobial susceptibility of Limonene to L. monocytogenes
was studied, and some new sights regarding its antibacterial mechanism were further explored. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) verified that limonene caused the destruction of the cell integrity and wall structure of L. monocytogenes.
The increase in conductivity and the leakage of intracellular biomacromolecules (nucleic acids and proteins) confirmed that limonene had an obvious effect on cell membrane permeability. The results of Propidium Iodide (PI) fluorescence staining were consistent with the results of the conductivity measurements. This indicated that limonene treatment caused damage to the L. monocytogenes
cell membrane. Furthermore, the decrease in ATP content, ATPase (Na+
-ATPase) activity and respiratory chain complex activity indicated that limonene could hinder ATP synthesis by inhibiting the activity of the respiratory complex and ATPase. Finally, differential expression of proteins in the respiratory chain confirmed that limonene affected respiration and energy metabolism by inhibiting the function of the respiratory chain complex.
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