Aromatic and aliphatic aldehydes were tested for their effectiveness against Clostridium botulinum spores and cells. Six-tenths millimolar benzaldehyde, piperonal, phenylacetaldehyde, α-amylcinnamaldehyde, vanillin, or phenylglyoxal delayed germination in botulinal assay medium (BAM) broth after 6 h exposure at 32°C. Sporicidal activity was observed with 1.25 mM vanillin, 39 mM isobutyraldehyde, 156 mM pyruvaldehyde or valeraldehyde, 625 mM benzaldehyde, and 2,500 mM α-amylcinnamaldehyde. Twenty-five millimolars of cinnamaldehyde, phenylacetaldehyde, pyruvaldehyde, and vanillin were most active against vegetative cells at pH 7.0 in BAM broth, while 125 mM was required for benzaldehyde, acetaldehyde, piperonal, or phenylglyoxal. Three millimolars benzaldehyde, 5.0 mM phenylglyoxal, 150 mM cinnamaldehyde, 200 mM pyruvaldehyde and vanillin, and 300 mM piperonal inhibited 9 h dipicolinic acid release in BAM broth at 32°C. Spore resistance to a 20-min 80°C thermal treatment was reduced when challenged with prior exposure to 100 mM cinnamaldehyde, piperonal, pyruvaldehyde, vanillin, or phenylglyoxal. Inhibition by cinnamaldehyde, piperonal, and phenylglyoxal was retained in commercial canned chicken and in beef broths. Five millimolars of benzaldehyde, cinnamaldehyde, piperonal, pyruvaldehyde, or phenylglyoxal delayed neurotoxin production for 48 h at 32°C, while 25 mM was required for vanillin. These results indicate that certain aldehydes inhibit C. botulinum, and aromaticity improves efficacy.

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