Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Degree Program

Food Science

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The objective of this research was to study the impact of ripening inhibitor level and type on the formation, stability, and activity of antimicrobial thyme oil nanoemulsions formed by spontaneous emulsification. Oil-in-water antimicrobial nanoemulsions (10 wt%) were formed by titrating a mixture of essential oil, ripening inhibitor, and surfactant (Tween 80) into 5mM sodium citrate buffer (pH 3.5). Stable nanoemulsions containing small droplets (d < 70 nm) were formed. The antimicrobial activity of the nanoemulsions decreased with increasing ripening inhibitor concentration, which was attributed to a reduction in the amount of hydrophobic antimicrobial constituents transferred to the separated hydrophobic domain, mimicking bacterial cell membranes, by using dialysis and chromatography. The antimicrobial activity of the nanoemulsions also depended on the nature of the ripening inhibitor used: palm ≈ corn > canola > coconut which also depended on their ability to transfer hydrophobic antimicrobial constituents to the separated hydrophobic domain.

First Advisor

Lynne McLandsborough

Second Advisor

David J. McClements

Third Advisor

Maria G. Corradini