Thymus vulgaris L. as a possible effective substitute for nitrates in meat products

  • Serena Salvaneschi Macello Salvaneschi, Torrazza Coste, Pavia, Italy.
  • Marcello Iriti | Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Milan State University, Milan; National Interuniversity Consortium of Materials Science and Technology, Firenze, Italy.
  • Sara Vitalini Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Milan State University, Milan; National Interuniversity Consortium of Materials Science and Technology, Firenze, Italy.
  • Lisa Vallone Department of Health, Animal Science and Food Safety (VESPA), Milan State University, Milan, Italy.


Nitrates are chemicals found naturally in some foods such as fruit and vegetables or added to others, especially meats, as a preservative. Their use as additives is regulated by European Commission to avoid any risk for human health. In order to reduce or replace the use of these compounds, we investigated the bacteriostatic/bactericidal activity of the essential oil of Thymus vulgaris L. against Listeria innocua, a nonpathogenic microorganism with the same morpho-cultural traits of L. monocytogenes. The study was carried out in vitro and in vivo on processed meat products, i.e. mature salami, by using thyme essential oil. Although the results are preliminary, the antilisterial activity of the thyme essential oil was shown to be similar to that of nitrates.



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Original Articles
Essential oil, Food-borne diseases, Salami, Food preservatives.
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How to Cite
Salvaneschi S, Iriti M, Vitalini S, Vallone L. <em>Thymus vulgaris</em&gt; L. as a possible effective substitute for nitrates in meat products. Ital J Food Safety [Internet]. 2020Aug.19 [cited 2021Oct.16];9(2). Available from: