Although essential oils (EOs) exhibit antimicrobial properties, its application is limited owing to their strong volatility and poor water solubility. Emulsification is a valid strategy for improving chemical stability. In this study, we prepared a mustard essential oil (MO) emulsion with egg yolk lecithin and evaluated its antimicrobial activity against Listeria monocytogenes in vitro and in cheese curd. The particle size of the MO emulsion was approximately 0.19 µmand remained stable for 30 days of storage. The MO emulsion showed strong antimicrobial activity against L. monocytogenes in vitro. Moreover, 40 ppm of MO was sufficient to inhibit the growth of L. monocytogenes in culture, and the addition of 160 ppm MO decreased the population of L. monocytogenes. Meanwhile, when 50 ppm of emulsified MO was added to milk during cheese curd production and it was stored at 10°C for 10 days, the growth of L. monocytogenes was suppressed. When the cheese curd with MO emulsion was stored at 4 °C, the bacterial count was significantly decreased (p<0.05), and no bacterial growth was observed after 14 days of storage. Furthermore, the sensory characteristics of cheese curd with the MO emulsion were acceptable. These results indicate that MO emulsions may be a possible way of controlling the growth of L. monocytogenes in fresh cheese.

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