Anti-quorum sensing activity of essential oils from Colombian plants

Nat Prod Res. 2012;26(12):1075-86. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2011.557376. Epub 2011 Sep 21.


Essential oils from Colombian plants were characterised by GC-MS, and assayed for anti-quorum sensing activity in bacteria sensor strains. Two major chemotypes were found for Lippia alba, the limonene-carvone and the citral (geranial-neral). For other species, the main components included α-pinene (Ocotea sp.), β-pinene (Swinglea glutinosa), cineol (Elettaria cardamomun), α-zingiberene (Zingiber officinale) and pulegone (Minthostachys mollis). Several essential oils presented promising inhibitory properties for the short chain AHL quorum sensing (QS) system, in Escherichia coli containing the biosensor plasmid pJBA132, in particular Lippia alba. Moderate activity as anti-QS using the same plasmid, were also found for selected constituents of essential oils studied here, such as citral, carvone and α-pinene, although solely at the highest tested concentration (250 µg mL(-1)). Only citral presented some activity for the long chain AHL QS system, in Pseudomonas putida containing the plasmid pRK-C12. In short, essential oils from Colombian flora have promising properties as QS modulators.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colombia
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Plants / chemistry*
  • Quorum Sensing / drug effects*


  • Oils, Volatile