Chemically characterized nanoencapsulated Homalomena aromatica Schott. essential oil as green preservative against fungal and aflatoxin B<sub>1</sub> contamination of stored spices based on in vitro and in situ efficacy and favorable safety profile on mice
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2021 Aug 12. doi: 10.1007/s11356-021-15794-2. Online ahead of print.
Present study deals with the efficacy of nanoencapsulated Homalomena aromatica essential oil (HAEO) as a potent green preservative against toxigenic Aspergillus flavus strain (AF-LHP-NS 7), storage fungi, AFB1, and free radical-mediated deterioration of stored spices. GC-MS analysis revealed linalool (68.51%) as the major component of HAEO. HAEO was encapsulated into chitosan nanomatrix (CS-HAEO-Ne) and characterized through SEM, FTIR, and XRD. CS-HAEO-Ne completely inhibited A. flavus growth and AFB1 biosynthesis at 1.25 μL/mL and 1.0 μL/mL, respectively in comparison to unencapsulated HAEO (1.75 μL/mL and 1.25 μL/mL, respectively). CS-HAEO-Ne caused significant reduction in ergosterol content in treated A. flavus and provoked leakage of cellular ions (Ca+2, Mg+2, and K+) as well as 260 nm and 280 nm absorbing materials. Depletion of methylglyoxal level in treated A. flavus cells illustrated the novel antiaflatoxigenic efficacy of CS-HAEO-Ne. CS-HAEO-Ne exhibited superior antioxidant efficacy (IC50 (DPPH) = 4.5 μL/mL) over unencapsulated HAEO (IC50 (DPPH) = 15.9 μL/mL) and phenolic content. CS-HAEO-Ne depicted excellent in situ efficacy by inhibiting fungal infestation, AFB1 contamination, lipid peroxidation, and mineral loss with acceptable sensorial profile. Moreover, broad safety paradigm (LD50 value = 7150.11 mg/kg) of CS-HAEO-Ne also suggests its application as novel green preservative to enhance shelf life of stored spices.