Essential oil composition and antibacterial activity of Origanum vulgare subsp. glandulosum Desf. at different phenological stages

J Med Food. 2013 Dec;16(12):1115-20. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2013.0079. Epub 2013 Dec 9.


Variation in the quantity and quality of the essential oil (EO) of wild population of Origanum vulgare at different phenological stages, including vegetative, late vegetative, and flowering set, is reported. The oils of air-dried samples were obtained by hydrodistillation. The yield of oils (w/w%) at different stages were in the order of late vegetative (2.0%), early vegetative (1.7%), and flowering (0.6%) set. The oils were analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) and GC-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). In total, 36, 33, and 16 components were identified and quantified in vegetative, late vegetative, and flowering set, representing 94.47%, 95.91%, and 99.62% of the oil, respectively. Carvacrol was the major compound in all samples. The ranges of major constituents were as follows: carvacrol (61.08-83.37%), p-cymene (3.02-9.87%), and γ-terpinene (4.13-6.34%). Antibacterial activity of the oils was tested against three Gram-positive and two Gram-negative bacteria by the disc diffusion method and determining their diameter of inhibition and the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values. The inhibition zones and MIC values for bacterial strains, which were sensitive to the EO of O. vulgare subsp. glandulosum, were in the range of 9-36 mm and 125-600 μg/mL, respectively. The oils of various phenological stages showed high activity against all tested bacteria, of which Bacillus subtilis was the most sensitive and resistant strain, respectively. Thus, they represent an inexpensive source of natural antibacterial substances that exhibited potential for use in pathogenic systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacillus subtilis / drug effects
  • Cyclohexane Monoterpenes
  • Cymenes
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Monoterpenes / pharmacology
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Origanum / chemistry*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects
  • Salmonella typhimurium / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cyclohexane Monoterpenes
  • Cymenes
  • Monoterpenes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • 4-cymene
  • gamma-terpinene
  • carvacrol