Microbial transformation of citral by Penicillium sp.
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Thymol is present in the essential oils from herbs and spices, such as thyme. It is produced by these plant species as a chemical defense against phytopathogenic microorganisms. Therefore, this compound has attracted great attention in food industry, i.e., it has been used as a natural preservative in foods such as cheese to prevent fungal growth. Previous studies concerning the biotransformation of nerol by Penicillium sp. and microbial transformation of citral by sporulated surface cultures method (SSCM) of Penicillium digitatum have been reported. The objective of this research was to study the pathway involved during biotransformation of citral by Penicillium sp. using two methods. The culture preparation was done using different microbial methods and incubation periods to obtain Penicillium for citral biotransformation. The biotransformation products were identified by gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS). A comparison of the two methods showed that SSCM was more effective, its major products were thymol (21.5%), geranial (18.6%) and nerol (13.7%). LM produced only one compound - thymol - with a low efficiency.
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