Liposome encapsulated citral was prepared by means of a hot homogenization method. The microstructure, and particle size and zeta potential of the capsules were analyzed by transmission electron microscope (TEM) and dynamic light scattering (DLS) respectively, in which the results showed a good dispersion stability of the citral-loaded liposome. In vitro tests showed that liposome encapsulated citral significantly ( p < 0.05) reduced the populations of Escherichia coli , Bacillus subtilis , Staphylococcus aureus, and Penicillium italicum than free citral. In vivo tests conducted on fresh ‘Shatangju’ mandarin showed that liposome encapsulated citral treated fruit exhibited a decay incidence of 56.67%, which is 42.04% lower than free citral treated fruit (97.78%) after 26 d storage at 25 °C and 60-70% RH. Additionally, fruit treated with citral-loaded liposome significantly reduced weight loss, and viable yeast and mold during storage. In summary, liposome encapsulated citral could be an effective antimicrobial agent to extend the shelf-life of ‘Shatangju’ mandarin.

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