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In this study, investigations were carried out to assess the efficiency of two plant essential oils; rosemary and
oregano as natural food preservatives. The effect of the plant essential oils at concentrations of 0.1%, 0.5% and 1% was
studied in the soft cheese against Salmonella enteritidis and Escherichia coli at fridge temprature over a 14-day period.
The essential oils performed well in the inhibition of S. enteritidis and E. coli. It is concluded that selected plant essential
oils can act as potent inhibitors of both microorganisms in a food product. At the same time, evaluation of their safety as
food preservatives was undertaken via monitoring the genotoxic activity of the mentioned essential oils using Vicia faba
test. Vicia faba roots were treated with the above concentrations for 3 hours. Results revealed cytotoxic and genotoxic effects
of the applied doses. Mitotic index decreased significantly when compared to control. Chromosomal abnormalities
and micronuclei were also observed and the effects were dose-dependent. Despite the efficient role of the studied oils as
antimicrobial agents, their genotoxicity potential in eukaryotic cells made them unacceptable as food preservatives, particularly
at high doses. Therefore, more research in the use of essential oils as food preservatives is needed.