Empirical prediction and validation of antibacterial inhibitory effects of various plant essential oils on common pathogenic bacteria

Int J Food Microbiol. 2015 Jun 2;202:35-41. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2015.02.030. Epub 2015 Feb 28.


In this study, fractional compound composition, antioxidant capacity, and phenolic substance content of 14 plant essential oils-anise (Pimpinella anisum), bay leaves (Laurus nobilis), cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum verum), clove (Eugenia caryophyllata), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), hop (Humulus lupulus), Istanbul oregano (Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum), Izmir oregano (Origanum onites), mint (Mentha piperita), myrtus (Myrtus communis), orange peel (Citrus sinensis), sage (Salvia officinalis), thyme (Thymbra spicata), and Turkish oregano (Origanum minutiflorum)--were related to inhibition of 10 bacteria through multiple linear or non-linear (M(N)LR) models-four Gram-positive bacteria of Listeria innocua, coagulase-negative staphylococci, Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus subtilis, and six Gram-negative bacteria of Yersinia enterocolitica, Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Typhimurium, Proteus mirabilis, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Klebsiella oxytoca. A total of 65 compounds with different antioxidant capacity, phenolic substance content and antibacterial properties were detected with 14 plant essential oils. The best-fit M(N)LR models indicated that relative to anise essential oil, the essential oils of oreganos, cinnamon, and thyme had consistently high inhibitory effects, while orange peel essential oil had consistently a low inhibitory effect. Regression analysis indicated that beta-bisabolene (Turkish and Istanbul oreganos), and terpinolene (thyme) were found to be the most inhibitory compounds regardless of the bacteria type tested.

Keywords: Food safety; GC-MS analysis; Microbial inhibition; Plant essential oil.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Food Microbiology / methods*
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Oils, Volatile