Eight strains of yeasts (Candida lipolytica, Debaryomyces hansenii, Hansenula anomala, Kloeckera apiculata, Lodderomyces elongisporus, Rhodotorula rubra, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Torulopsis glabrata) were examined for changes in sensitivity to eight essential oils of plants (allspice, cinnamon, clove, garlic, onion, oregano, savory, and thyme) after being sublethally heat stressed. With the exception of garlic oil for all test yeasts, onion oil for S. cerevisiae, and oregano oil for R. rubra, the essential oils at concentrations of up to 200 ppm in recovery media did not interfere with colony formation by unheated cells. However, some oils, at concentrations as low as 25 ppm in recovery media, reduced populations of sublethally heat-stressed cells compared to populations recovered in media containing no test oils. This demonstrates that the yeasts were either metabolically or structurally damaged as a result of being exposed to elevated temperatures and that essential oils prohibited repair of injury. The size (diameter) of colonies produced on oil-supplemented recovery agar by heat-stressed cells was reduced compared to that observed on unsupplemented agar. Pigment production by heated R. rubra was inhibited by oils of oregano, savory, and thyme, but enhanced by garlic and onion oils. The influence of essential oils on survival of yeasts in thermally processed foods and in the enumeration of stressed cells in these foods should not be minimized
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