Publication Date

Fall 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging


Xi Feng

Subject Areas



Essential oils are currently being investigated for their potential role as food preservatives. They contain a mixture of bioactive compounds that would help increase the shelf life of food and might help preserve fruits without using synthetic chemicals. Although much research has been conducted on their antimicrobial properties, their effect on the physicochemical properties and organoleptic characteristics needs more investigation. In this study, the effects of lemon or cinnamon essential oil vapor on the physicochemical properties of strawberries were analyzed, focusing on the weight loss, color, firmness, acidity status, sugar content and visible decay. Strawberries were treated for 12 hours with lemon or cinnamon oil vapor before being stored for 5 days at 22°C or 18 days at 4°C. Lemon and cinnamon essential oil vapor treatments both show promising results, with the ability to blunt weight loss during the first days of storage (P<0.05), without significantly altering the acidity status of strawberries, nor their soluble solid concentration. Lemon essential oil vapor delayed darkening (P<0.05), but reduced firmness (P<0.05). Cinnamon essential oil vapor increased the concentration of reducing sugars (P<0.05). Cinnamon treatment also decreased visible decay by 16.7% after four days of storage, although the difference was not significant. These results show the potential benefits of using lemon or cinnamon essential oil as natural preservatives in food systems.

Available for download on Friday, February 24, 2023