Essential oil of tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) antibacterial activity on Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli in culture media and Iranian white cheese

Iran J Microbiol. 2012 Mar;4(1):30-4.


Background and objectives: In this study, the antibacterial effect of essential oil of tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) on Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli was evaluated in culture media and Iranian white cheese.

Materials and methods: The tarragon essential oil (EO) obtained by the steam distillation method and its antibacterial activity was evaluated in 96-well microtiter plates containing brain heart infusion broth. The enumeration of S. aureus and E. coli in cheese samples were carried out on the following media: Baired parker agar for S.aureus, incubated at 37°C for 24 h; and MacConkey sorbitol agar for E. coli, incubated at 37°C for 24 h. Iranian white cheese was produced from fresh and whole pasteurized cow milk (2.5%). Bacteria (10(3) cfu/mL) were inoculated to different batches. Cheese was treated with different concentrations of EO (15 and 1500 µg/mL) and separated into four parts in an equal manner. The sensory evaluation was done by a panel of four judges.

Results: According to the results obtained, minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) for E. coli and S. aureus were 2500 and 1250 µg/mL, respectively. Also, minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) for the mentioned microorganisms were 5000 and 2500 µg/mL, respectively. All the EO concentrations for each bacteria result in reducing bacterial count of cheese samples compared to control (P<0.05). Also, with increasing concentration of EO in cheese samples, the bacterial count was reduced further (P<0.05).

Conclusion: Based on our findings, tarragon essential oil has antibacterial effect on two important pathogen bacteria (S. aureus and E. coli) and can be applied as a preservative in foods such as cheese.

Keywords: Escherichia coli; Staphylococcus aureus; Tarragon; antibacterial effect; cheese; essential oil.