The chemical composition of essential oil from pine needles (Cedrus deodara) was determined, and its antioxidant and antimicrobial activities were evaluated. Twenty-three components, representing 95.79% of the oil, were identified by gas chromatography mass spectrometry. The main components include α-terpineol (30.2%), linalool (24.47%), limonene (17.01%), anethole (14.57%), caryophyllene (3.14%), and eugenol (2.14%). Pine needle essential oil showed remarkable antioxidant activity in scavenging free radicals, in lipid peroxidation, and in reducing power assays. Moreover, the essential oil revealed strong antimicrobial activity against typical food-borne microorganisms, with minimum inhibitory concentration and minimum bactericidal concentration values of 0.2 to 1.56 and 0.39 to 6.25 μg/mL, respectively. Transmission electron microscope observation ascertained that the bactericidal mechanism of pine needle essential oil may be the induction of cytoplasmic outflow and plasmolysis. These results suggest that the essential oil from pine needles has potential to be used as a natural antioxidant and antimicrobial agent in food processing.
Practical application: The present study provides a theoretical basis for the potential application of essential oil from pine needles (C. deodara) to be used as a natural resource of antioxidant and antimicrobial agents in food industry.
© 2012 Institute of Food Technologists®