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Antimicrobial Activity of Citronella Oil

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Background of Study

According to Tzortzakis & Economakis, (2007) and Arshad et al. (2014), essential oils are volatile, complex mixes with have a solid smell and also structured by fragrant plants as secondary metabolites. Essential oil can be retrieved from plant parts such as buds, leaves, wood, bark, herbs, flowers, twigs, seeds and whole fruit by extraction technique such as steam distillation, cold pressing or extraction (Calo et al., 2015; Burt, 2004). Bakkali et al. (2008) and Calo et al. (2015) stated that essential oil components consists of two groups, terpene compound and aroma compounds. Wijesekara et al. (1997) and Hodges, (2014) also mentioned that terpene hydrocarbons and additionally their oxygenated subordinates, for example aldehydes, acids, alcohols, esters and ketones that presence in essential oils give the unique characters such as antimicrobial properties, antibacterial properties, antioxidant properties and antifungal properties.

Citronella oil or scientific names Cymbopogon Nardus L. Randle or C. Winterianus Jowitt is one of the essential oils which is give impactful smell and lemony (Smoron, 2001) with have blue-green leaves that develop over to a tallness of 1.5 meters tall (Hodges, 2014) and are not entirely oil but less soluble in water (Calo et al., 2015). According to Man et al. (2012) citronella oil is well known by its character as mosquito repellent. Besides being mosquito repellent, antimicrobial properties is one of the properties that been investigate latterly (Billerbeck et al., 2001 & Victoria et al., 2012). Calo et al. (2015) have summarized that essential oils and their components have been proven to have ability to control the safety of food and naturally contain active compound that can be found in many plants that give ability in reducing microbial growth in effective ways. Thus this finding plus with negative customer attitudes toward food preservatives made the uses of essential oil expanding in demand to be as potential natural antimicrobials. Furthermore, Calo et al. (2015) highlighted that a perfect antimicrobial would be one that is accessible in huge volumes as a secondary desirable good and safe to consume. Thus, the citronella oil is one of the criteria that suit to be a perfect antimicrobial agent.

Based on Environment Protection Agency (EPA), (1997) study, citronella oil is non-toxic and not harmful to human and animals. By inhibition of fungal growth or microbial in products, citronella oil can decrease the danger to human and animal health and make more demand for fruit and vegetable consumption since it can inhibit the growth of this creature. Thus, for this reason it often been proposed to do research in expanding toward the uses of essential oil.

Problem Statement

Food borne disease outbreaks that usually caused by microbial have made an attempt in reducing product safety and can affect market demand. It has been assessed that upward of 30% experience the food borne disease (WHO, 2014). Moreover, Acharya et al. (2011) stated that from 250 food-borne diseases microbial infection in foodstuff is the major disorder. Food borne diseases are the aftereffect of ingestion of foodstuffs tainted with microorganisms or chemicals and this can happen at any part in the process from food production line to consumers (WHO, 2014). Results from food borne disease is diarrhea and vomiting, this symptoms executes 1.8 million youngest consistently around the world in 2000 (WHO, 2002). A report by Sharifa Ezat et al. (2013) highlighted that number of cases that been reported as food poisoning caused by contamination of microbial shows higher incidence rate and number of cases compare to other disease such as Dysentery, Tyhoid, Cholera and Hepatitis A within year 2000 until 2009.

While in agriculture industry, pathogenic and toxinogenic growth are one of the major issues that can influence cannot only fresh produce but also effect human health, economic loss and ecological security (Ru Li et al., 2013). Not only that, post harvest itself also loss their fresh produce during the supply chain and much of this is because of fungal and bacterial disease (Sivakumar & Banos, 2014) for example contamination of Aspergillus niger that produce enzymes such as cellulose, amylase and pectinase (Ru Li et al., 2013) that cause food spoilage. Thus to combat this problem especially to control plant pathogenic growths, synthetic fungicides have been utilized because it do not give bad influence on the appearance or nature of the product (Cabral et al., 2013). Unfortunately, broad utilized of synthetic fungicides can affect human and animal that can lead to cancer, toxicity, environmental problem and long degradation period (Cabral et al., 2013; Calo et al., 2015).

Antimicrobial chemical is one of the synthetic fungicides that have been used in agriculture such as aromatic hydrocarbons, benzaimidazoles and sterol biosynthesis inhibitors. Fludioxonil which is phenylpyrrole and Pyrimethanil which is anilinopyrimidine are the most popular one that used to control plant disease. Unfortunately, some of these compounds are not biodegradable and unfriendly to nature because it can presence in soil, plants and water also subsequently influence people through food chain relation (Cabral et al., 2013). In spite of the fact that synthetic fungicides have been thought to be the least expensive also best approach to avoid postharvest disease, the unfriendly effects to nature have reduce their acceptance.

Objectives of the Study

The goals of this study is to

  1. To investigate the antimicrobial activity of citronella oil
  2. To study the applications of citronella oil in foods
  3. To study the mechanical properties of coated PP film and the control PP film

Scope of Study

In conjunction with the problem statement and objectives of the study, all activities such as desk study, laboratory activities, data analysis and report writing are conducted in one scope of study. The scope of study can be portrayed as:

i) Laboratory activities

PP film preparation

Where the coating solution will be prepared and after preparation of coating solution the PP film will be coated with the coating solution.

Fruit sample and E. coli sample

The PP film that been coated with solution is then tested on the bacteria growth sample and the fruit sample.

ii) Data analysis

Measure the ‘zero inhibition zone’

After the sample left for 5 days the clear zone will be formed around the PP film for the bacteria growth sample. The length of clear zone will be measured.

Evaluation on fruit sample

The PP film that been coated with solution is then tested on the fruit sample by wrapping the fruit sample. The condition of the fruit sample will be evaluated.

Mechanical properties

The strength of coated PP film and the uncoated PP film will be identifying with an appropriate machine.

iii) Report writing

Preparation full report

After getting the result from lab test, the discussion of the result will be made and prepared.

Presentation of project report

The study that been made along the semester 1 and semester 2 will be present in front of the panels.


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