Lemon essential oil (LEO) is a common natural antibacterial substance, and encapsulating LEO into nanoemulsions (NEs) can improve their stability and broaden its application. Our study aimed to investigate the bacterial inhibitory effect of LEO-NEs against Escherichia coli (E. coli). Results showed that the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of LEO-NEs was 6.25 mg/mL, and the time-kill curve showed that E. coli were significantly killed by LEO-NEs after 5 h of treatment at 1MIC. Flow-cytometry analysis showed that LEO-NEs adversely affected the cell-membrane depolarisation, cell-membrane integrity, and efflux pump function of E. coli. Confocal laser scanning microscopy demonstrated that 8MIC of LEO-NEs induced changes in the cell-membrane permeability and cell-wall integrity of E. coli. Proteomic results suggested that the mode of action LEO-NEs against E. coli was to enhance bacterial chemotaxis and significantly inhibit ribosomal assembly. They may also affect butyric acid, ascorbic acid and aldehyde metabolism,...

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