Ginseng is a widely used therapeutic medicinal agent for a number of diseases. It is generally distributed in both processed and unprocessed whole roots and is the most liable to be contaminated by microorganisms as harvest progresses and during manufacturing process. Thus, decontamination process is necessary for combating the microbiological quality of the products. Here, we examined the effect of sodium hypochlorite and organic acids on bacteria growing on ginseng roots. Sodium hypochlorite showed a higher antibacterial activity against the tested bacteria, except Escherichia coli. Its strong inhibitory effect appeared to be due to its higher alkaline pH value. However, sodium hypochlorite has less sensitivity to the Gram-negative bacteria strains. We also examined the effect of three different organic acids such as acetic, citric and lactic acids on bacterial growth of ginseng roots. These organic acids showed anti-bacterial activities against Gram-negative strains. Especially, lactic acid inhibited bacteria growth from slice of ginseng than whole ginseng roots. Combination of sodium hypochlorite and organic acid treatment might be improved to fight against both Gram- negative and positive bacteria and would increase storage periods until the second product is made.
Key words: Korean ginseng, sodium hypochlorite, organic acids, anti-bacterial, food borne pathogen
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