U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Chemical composition and antibacterial and antioxidant properties of commercial essential oils

Bárbara Teixeira, António Marques, Cristina Ramos, Nuno R. Neng, José M.F. Nogueira, Jorge Alexandre Saraiva, Maria Leonor Nunes
Industrial crops and products 2013 v.43 pp. 587-595
foods, Coriandrum sativum, Salmonella Typhimurium, essential oils, chemical compounds, Pseudomonas putida, Shewanella putrefaciens, absorbance, industry, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli, spoilage, minimum inhibitory concentration, Listeria innocua, Brochothrix thermosphacta, rosemary, growth retardation, antioxidant activity, antibacterial properties, chemical composition, cloves, thyme, free radical scavengers, bacteria
The aim of this work was to determine the effectiveness of 17 essential oils to inhibit the growth of seven food-borne spoilage and pathogenic bacterial strains (Brochothrix thermosphacta, Escherichia coli, Listeria innocua, Listeria monocytogenes, Pseudomonas putida, Salmonella typhimurium and Shewanella putrefaciens). Additionally, the antioxidant activity (by free radical scavenging activity and ferric reducing power) and the chemical composition of these essential oils were evaluated. All essential oils inhibited the growth of at least four bacteria tested, and lower values of minimum inhibitory concentration (<3.0mgmL−1) were needed to inhibit P. putida. The highest reductions (8.0logCFUmL−1) were achieved with coriander, origanum and rosemary essential oils for L. innocua, as well as with thyme essential oil for both Listeria strains. The results showed that for the evaluation of antibacterial activity of plant essential oils, bacterial counts should be performed instead of absorbance readings when using microdilution methods. Regarding the antioxidant activity, clove and origanum essential oils showed the strongest antioxidant properties. Essential oils showed a great variety of compounds in their chemical compositions, some of those with known antibacterial and antioxidant properties. In conclusion, all tested essential oils have very strong potential applicability as antibacterial and antioxidant agents for food and pharmaceutical industries.