Because it posses aldehyde and hydroxy substituents, it undergoes many reactions. Additional reactions are possible due to the reactivity due the aromatic nucleus. Since vanillin is a phenol aldehyde, it is stable to autooxidation and does not undergo the Cannizzaro reaction.
In common with many other low-molecular weight phenolic compounds, vanillin displays antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and hence has the potential for use as food preservative.
It is active against both Gram-positive and Gran-negative food spoilage bacteria and has been shown to be effective against both yeasts and moulds in fruit purees and laboratory growth media.
Vanillin exhibits in vitro antifungal activity against the yeasts Candida albicans and Cryptoccoccus neoformans. Minimal inhibitory concentrations of vanillin for C. albicans and C. neoformans were found to be 1250 and 738 ug/ml.
Vanillin is found to be a good antioxidant. It offers significantly good protection against protein oxidation and lipid peroxidation induced by photosensitization in rat liver mitochondria.
Properties of vanillin