Nanoparticles—Attractive Carriers of Antimicrobial Essential Oils
Microbial pathogens are the most prevalent cause of chronic infections and fatalities around the world. Antimicrobial agents including antibiotics have been frequently utilized in the treatment of infections due to their exceptional outcomes. However, their widespread use has resulted in the emergence of multidrug-resistant strains of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. Furthermore, due to inherent resistance to antimicrobial drugs and the host defence system, the advent of new infectious diseases, chronic infections, and the occurrence of biofilms pose a tougher challenge to the current treatment line. Essential oils (EOs) and their biologically and structurally diverse constituents provide a distinctive, inexhaustible, and novel source of antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antiparasitic agents. However, due to their volatile nature, chemical susceptibility, and poor solubility, their development as antimicrobials is limited. Nanoparticles composed of biodegradable polymeric and inorganic materials have been studied extensively to overcome these limitations. Nanoparticles are being investigated as nanocarriers for antimicrobial delivery, antimicrobial coatings for food products, implantable devices, and medicinal materials in dressings and packaging materials due to their intrinsic capacity to overcome microbial resistance. Essential oil-loaded nanoparticles may offer the potential benefits of synergism in antimicrobial activity, high loading capacity, increased solubility, decreased volatility, chemical stability, and enhancement of the bioavailability and shelf life of EOs and their constituents. This review focuses on the potentiation of the antimicrobial activity of essential oils and their constituents in nanoparticulate delivery systems for a wide range of applications, such as food preservation, packaging, and alternative treatments for infectious diseases.