Synergistic antimicrobial activities of natural essential oils with chitosan films

J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Dec 14;59(23):12411-9. doi: 10.1021/jf203165k. Epub 2011 Nov 9.


The synergistic antimicrobial activities of three natural essential oils (i.e., clove bud oil, cinnamon oil, and star anise oil) with chitosan films were investigated. Cinnamon oil had the best antimicrobial activity among three oils against Escherichia coli , Staphylococcus aureus , Aspergillus oryzae , and Penicillium digitatum . The chitosan solution exhibited good inhibitory effects on the above bacteria except the fungi, whereas chitosan film had no remarkable antimicrobial activity. The cinnamon oil-chitosan film exhibited a synergetic effect by enhancing the antimicrobial activities of the oil, which might be related to the constant release of the oil. The cinnamon oil-chitosan film had also better antimicrobial activity than the clove bud oil-chitosan film. The results also showed that the compatibility of cinnamon oil with chitosan in film formation was better than that of the clove bud oil with chitosan. However, the incorporated oils modified the mechanical strengths, water vapor transmission rate, moisture content, and solubility of the chitosan film. Furthermore, chemical reaction took place between cinnamon oil and chitosan, whereas phase separation occurred between clove bud oil and chitosan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Chitosan* / pharmacology
  • Cinnamomum zeylanicum / chemistry
  • Clove Oil / pharmacology
  • Drug Synergism
  • Food Microbiology
  • Food Packaging / instrumentation
  • Illicium / chemistry
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Solutions


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Clove Oil
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Solutions
  • Chitosan