Control of mycotoxigenic fungi with microcapsules of essential oils encapsulated in chitosan

Abstract Aspergillus and Fusarium are the fungi genera most frequently isolated from cereal grains and other commodities. They are capable of producing mycotoxins, which can affect the human and animal health. Synthetic fungicides have been used to control these fungi, nevertheless, they have acquired resistance and other alternatives are necessary since they now need higher amounts. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of cinnamon, clove and thyme essential oils (EOs) alone and encapsulated in chitosan on the radial growth, spore germination and mycotoxin production by Fusarium verticillioides and Aspergillus parasiticus. The composition of the EOs was determined by gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS). EOs inhibited radial growth and spore germination of both fungal species better than when they were encapsulated, plus, they reduced mycotoxin production. The major components were eugenol in cinnamon and clove EO (70 and 63%, respectively) and 2-methyl-5-(1-methyethyl)-phenol (46.2%) in thyme EO. The microparticles with clove and thyme EO showed good surface charges, higher than +30 mV and their average size for the three types of microparticles was about 750 nm. Our findings suggest that EOs both alone and encapsulated in chitosan have a fungistatic effect on Fusarium verticillioides and Aspergillus parasiticus.