Natural resistance of rose petals to microbial attack

J Environ Sci Health B. 2011;46(5):381-93. doi: 10.1080/03601234.2011.572502.


Petals of red, yellow and white roses (Rosa damascene Mill.) of the family Rosaceae were extracted with (1:1) methylene chloride/methanol and tested for their antimicrobial activities against four species of Gram-positive bacteria (Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis, Micrococcus luteus and Staphylococcus aureus), five species of Gram-negative bacteria (Enterobacter aerogenes, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Serratia marcescens) and five species of fungi (Penicillium notatum, Aspergillus niger, Rhizopus stolonifer, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Fusarium oxysporum). All of the crude extracts showed a wide range of antimicrobial activities according to the tested organism and rose's type. Micrococcus luteus was found to be the most susceptible bacteria to all crude extracts. Red and yellow petal extracts showed much higher antibacterial activity than the white petals extract. Bacillus subtilis was found to be the least susceptible to all extracts. The fungus, Penicillium notatum was found to be the most susceptible with white petal extract being the most effective. Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Fusarium oxysporum were the least susceptible to all extracts. White roses extract showed much higher antifungal activities against Penicillium notatum than red or yellow roses, therefore, it was subjected to several bioassay guided chromatographic fractionations and purification to isolate the active chemical(s) responsible for the antifungal activity. Chemical structure of the isolated antifungal compounds were identified by spectroscopy techniques and found to be a γ-sitosterol and (Z,Z)-9,12-octadecadienoic acid. Antibacterial activity of the various types of rose extracts were due to complex mixtures of organic compounds which are still under chemical investigation and will be published later.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / analysis
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antifungal Agents / analysis
  • Antifungal Agents / isolation & purification
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Flowers / chemistry*
  • Fungi / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / analysis
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rosa / chemistry*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Plant Extracts