Inhibitory effects of Fortunella japonica var. margarita and Citrus sunki essential oils on nitric oxide production and skin pathogens

Acta Microbiol Immunol Hung. 2010 Mar;57(1):15-27. doi: 10.1556/AMicr.57.2010.1.2.


A number of essential oils from citrus peels are claimed to have biological activities. Citrus peel, called 'Jin-Pi', is used in traditional medicine for digestion, severe cold, and fever. However, the antibacterial activities against skin pathogens and anti-inflammatory effects of the essential oils of Citrus sunki (JinGyul) and Fortunella japonica var. margarita (GumGyul) have not yet been described. Therefore, in this study, the essential oils of the citrus species C. sunki (CSE) and F. japonica var. margarita (FJE), both native to the island of Jeju, Korea, were examined for their anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities against skin pathogens. Four human skin pathogenic microorganisms, Staphylococcus epidermidis CCARM 3709, Propionibacterium acnes CCARM 0081, Malassezia furfur KCCM 12679, and Candida albicans KCCM 11282, were studied. CSE and FJE exhibited strong antimicrobial activity against most of the pathogenic bacteria and yeast strains that were tested. Interestingly, CSE and FJE even showed antimicrobial activity against antibiotic-resistant S. epidermidis CCARM 3710, S. epidermidis CCARM 3711, P. acnes CCARM9009, and P. acnes CCARM9010 strains. In addition, CSE and FJE reduced the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced secretion of nitric oxide (NO) in RAW 264.7 cells, indicating that they have anti-inflammatory effects. We also analysed the chemical composition of the oils by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and identified several major components, including dl-limonene (68.18%) and beta-myrcene (4.36%) for CSE, and dl-limonene (61.58%) and carvone (6.36%) for FJE. Taken together, these findings indicate that CSE and FJE have great potential to be used in human skin health applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Cell Line
  • Citrus / chemistry*
  • Dermatitis / microbiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Malassezia / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Nitric Oxide / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Propionibacterium acnes / drug effects*
  • Republic of Korea
  • Rutaceae / chemistry*
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / microbiology
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / drug effects*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Nitric Oxide