Essential oils have received increasing attention as natural additives for the shelf-life extension of food products due to the risk in using synthetic preservatives. Synthetic additives can reduce food spoilage, but the present generation is very health conscious and believes in natural products rather than synthetic ones due to their potential toxicity and other concerns. Therefore, one of the major emerging technologies is the extraction of essential oils from several plant organs and their application to foods. Essential oils are a good source of several bioactive compounds, which possess antioxidative and antimicrobial properties, so their use can be very useful to extend shelf-life in food products. Although essential oils have been shown to be promising alternative to chemical preservatives, they present special limitations that must be solved before their application in food systems. Low water solubility, high volatility, and strong odor are the main properties that make it difficult for food applications. Recent advances that refer to new forms of application to avoid these problems are currently under study. Their application into packaging materials and coated films but also directly into the food matrix as emulsions, nanoemulsions, and coating are some of their new applications among others.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited