Linum usitatissimum (linseed/flaxseed) fixed oil: antimicrobial activity and efficacy in bovine mastitis

Inflammopharmacology. 2011 Feb;19(1):45-52. doi: 10.1007/s10787-010-0047-3. Epub 2010 Jul 3.


Purpose: In vitro antimicrobial activity and in vivo therapeutic efficacy of L. usitatissimum (linseed/flaxseed) fixed oil in bovine mastitis were investigated.

Method: In vitro antimicrobial activity of L. usitatissimum fixed oil was evaluated against a number of microorganisms by disc diffusion method and MIC determination. The in vivo efficacy of the oil was evaluated in nine mastitis-affected cows divided into three groups (three in each group), following once-a-day intramammary infusion of oil, cefoperazone or an oil-cefoperazone combination for 7 days and by monitoring the California mastitis test score, somatic cell count and microbial count in milk samples.

Results: The in vitro antimicrobial activity of the oil against Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus agalactiae and Escherichia coli was comparable to that of cefoperazone while the antimicrobial activity against Enterococcus faecalis, Micrococcus luteus and Candida albicans, was greater than that of cefoperazone. In the in vivo study, the oil exhibited significant reduction in the California mastitis test score and somatic cell count in milk samples from infected udders following 7 days of intramammary administration suggesting its anti-inflammatory effect. The microbial count in milk samples was also reduced significantly following oil treatment. The effects were comparable to the treatment by cefoperazone (Mastiwock) alone or in combination with the oil. Apparently, the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of the oil contribute to its therapeutic efficacy in mastitis; the oil could be used as an alternative treatment for bovine mastitis

Conclusion: The results suggest possible therapeutic potential of L. usitatissimum fixed oil in bovine mastitis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Infective Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Candida albicans / drug effects
  • Cattle
  • Cefoperazone / pharmacology
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Female
  • Flax / chemistry*
  • Linseed Oil / chemistry
  • Linseed Oil / isolation & purification
  • Linseed Oil / pharmacology*
  • Mastitis, Bovine / drug therapy*
  • Mastitis, Bovine / microbiology
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Milk / drug effects
  • Milk / microbiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / drug effects


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cefoperazone
  • Linseed Oil