Inhibition and Mechanism of Citral on Bacillus cereus Vegetative Cells, Spores, and Biofilms


Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2024 Jul;21(7):447-457. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2023.0176. Epub 2024 May 9.


Bacillus cereus causes food poisoning by producing toxins that cause diarrhea and vomiting and, in severe cases, endocarditis, meningitis, and other diseases. It also tends to form biofilms and spores that lead to contamination of the food production environment. Citral is a potent natural antibacterial agent, but its antibacterial activity against B. cereus has not been extensively studied. In this study, we first determined the minimum inhibitory concentrations and minimum bactericidal concentrations, growth curves, killing effect in different media, membrane potential, intracellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP), reactive oxygen species levels, and morphology of vegetative cells, followed by germination rate, morphology, germination state of spores, and finally biofilm clearance effect. The results showed that the minimum inhibitory concentrations and minimum bactericidal concentrations of citral against bacteria ranged from 100 to 800 μg/mL. The lag phase of bacteria was effectively prolonged by citral, and the growth rate of bacteria was slowed down. Bacteria in Luria-Bertani broth were reduced to below the detection limit by citral at 800 μg/mL within 0.5 h. Bacteria in rice were reduced to 3 log CFU/g by citral at 4000 μg/mL within 0.5 h. After treatment with citral, intracellular ATP concentration was reduced, membrane potential was altered, intracellular reactive oxygen species concentration was increased, and normal cell morphology was altered. After treatment with citral at 400 μg/mL, spore germination rate was reduced to 16.71%, spore morphology was affected, and spore germination state was altered. It also had a good effect on biofilm removal. The present study showed that citral had good bacteriostatic activity against B. cereus vegetative cells and its spores and also had a good clearance effect on its biofilm. Citral has the potential to be used as a bacteriostatic substance for the control of B. cereus in food industry production.

PMID:38985570 | DOI:10.1089/fpd.2023.0176