ABSTRACT

Foodborne viruses, particularly human norovirus, are a concern for public health, especially in fresh vegetables and other minimally processed foods that may not undergo sufficient decontamination. It is necessary to explore novel nonthermal techniques for preventing foodborne viral contamination. In this study, aqueous extracts of six raw food materials (flower buds of clove, fenugreek seeds, garlic and onion bulbs, ginger rhizomes, and jalapeño peppers) were tested for antiviral activity against feline calicivirus (FCV) as a surrogate for human norovirus. The antiviral assay was performed using dilutions of the extracts below the maximum nontoxic concentrations of the extracts to the host cells of FCV, Crandell-Reese feline kidney (CRFK) cells. No antiviral effect was seen when the host cells were pretreated with any of the extracts. However, pretreatment of FCV with nondiluted clove and ginger extracts inactivated 6.0 and 2.7 log of the initial titer of the virus, respectively. Also, significant dose-dependent inactivation of FCV was seen when host cells were treated with clove and ginger extracts at the time of infection or postinfection at concentrations equal to or lower than the maximum nontoxic concentrations. By comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis, eugenol (29.5%) and R-(-)-1,2-propanediol (10.7%) were identified as the major components of clove and ginger extracts, respectively. The antiviral effect of the pure eugenol itself was tested; it showed antiviral activity similar to that of clove extract, albeit at a lower level, which indicates that some other clove extract constituents, along with eugenol, are responsible for inactivation of FCV. These results showed that the aqueous extracts of clove and ginger hold promise for prevention of foodborne viral contamination.

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