Antimicrobial activity of commercial citrus-based natural extracts against Escherichia coli O157:H7 isolates and mutant strains

Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2008 Oct;5(5):695-9. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2008.0124.


Due to increasing concerns about the development of antimicrobial resistance amongst pathogenic bacteria, alternative strategies have been sought that do not use antibiotics to reduce pathogenic bacteria from foods and patients. A natural compound that has potent antimicrobial properties is citrus peel, which contains a variety of essential oils that inhibit the growth of or kill pathogenic bacteria. In the present study, seven citrus-based natural antimicrobials were evaluated for their ability to inhibit the growth of the pathogen Escherichia coli O157:H7. Zones of inhibition of E. coli O157:H7 by the citrus-derived fraction (10 microL/6 mm disk) were determined by a disk-diffusion assay on Sorbitol-MacConkey agar. Inhibition zones were observed after 48 h lawn growth of E. coli O157:H7 cells at 37 degrees C. Two citrus-based fractions, orange CP VAL terpeneless FAB 968611 and Limonene 1x Dist FAB 955430, inhibited E. coli O157:H7 with inhibition zones of approx. 11-24 mm dia. The remaining other five citrus-derived extracts (orange oil FL VAL 1121 ARR 974760, Orange 5x Conc VAL 4121 ARR 968374, orange terpenes ESS 1120 ARR 986259, orange terpenes CP 1100 ARR 986255, and orange terpenes OEO HP 1100 ARR 986257) were noninhibitory to E. coli O157:H7, yielding no clear inhibition zones. These studies show that citrus-derived natural compounds differ in their inhibitory activity against E. coli O157:H7 and some have potential applications as inhibitory agents against E. coli O157:H7 in various pathogen reduction strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Citrus*
  • Cyclohexenes / pharmacology
  • Disk Diffusion Antimicrobial Tests
  • Escherichia coli O157 / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli O157 / genetics
  • Escherichia coli O157 / growth & development
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Limonene
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology
  • Terpenes / pharmacology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cyclohexenes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Terpenes
  • Limonene