Successful infection by is dependent upon a range of bacterial extracellular proteins including a cytolysin termed listeriolysin O and phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C. Five plant essential oils – bay, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg and thyme – significantly reduced the production of listeriolysin O by . The greatest change was observed after culture with oil of thyme, which reduced haemolysis to 52.1 haemolytic units (HU)/ml compared with 99.85muHU/ml observed with the control. Oil of clove was the only oil that also significantly reduced phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C activity. These changes were observed despite the oils causing no change to the final bacterial concentration or total extracellular protein concentration.


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