Variation of the chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of the essential oils of natural populations of Tunisian Daucus carota L. (Apiaceae)

Chem Biodivers. 2013 Dec;10(12):2278-90. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.201300137.


The essential oils of Daucus carota L. (Apiaceae) seeds sampled from ten wild populations spread over northern Tunisia were characterized by GC-FID and GC/MS analyses. In total, 36 compounds were identified in the D. carota seed essential oils, with a predominance of sesquiterpene hydrocarbons in most samples (22.63-89.93% of the total oil composition). The main volatile compounds identified were β-bisabolene (mean content of 39.33%), sabinene (8.53%), geranyl acetate (7.12%), and elemicin (6.26%). The volatile composition varied significantly across the populations, even for oils of populations harvested in similar areas. The chemometric principal component analysis and the hierarchical clustering identified four groups, each corresponding to a composition-specific chemotype. The in vitro antimicrobial activity of the isolated essential oils was preliminarily evaluated, using the disk-diffusion method, against one Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus) and two Gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium), as well as against a pathogenic yeast (Candida albicans). All tested essential oils exhibited interesting antibacterial and antifungal activities against the assayed microorganisms.

Keywords: Antimicrobial activity; Daucus carota; Essential oils; Hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA); Principal component analysis (PCA).

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / chemistry*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apiaceae / chemistry*
  • Apiaceae / metabolism
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry*
  • Oils, Volatile / isolation & purification
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Tunisia


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Oils, Volatile