Background and objectives: Essential oils are volatile compounds that have been used since Middle Ages as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, sedative, local anesthetic and food flavoring agents. In the current study, essential oils of Pelargonium graveolens L'Her and Vitex agnus-castus L. were analyzed for their antibacterial activities.
Materials and methods: The chemical compositions of essential oils were characterized by GC-MS. Disc diffusion method was used to study antimicrobial activity.
Results and conclusion: Inhibition zones showed that the essential oils of the two plants were active against all of the studied bacteria (except Listeria monocytogenes). The susceptibility of the strains changed with the dilution of essential oils in DMSO. The pure essential oils showed the most extensive inhibition zones and they were very effective antimicrobial compounds compared to chloramphenicol and amoxicillin. The most susceptible strain against these two essential oils was Staphylococcus aureus. It seems that β-citronellol is a prominent part of P. graveolens volatile oil and caryophyllene oxide is a famous and important part of V. agnus-castus volatile oil and their probable synergistic effect with other constituents are responsible for the antibacterial effects of these oils. However further studies must be performed to confirm the safety of these oils for use as antimicrobial agents and natural preservatives in different products.
Keywords: Antibacterial activity; Essential oils; GC-MS; Pelargonium graveolens L'Her; Vitex agnus-castus L.