Antimicrobial Impacts of Essential Oils on Food Borne-Pathogens

Recent Pat Food Nutr Agric. 2015;7(1):53-61. doi: 10.2174/2212798407666150615112153.


The antimicrobial activity of twelve essential oil (pine oil, eucalyptus, thyme, sage tea, lavender, orange, laurel, lemon, myrtle, lemon, rosemary and juniper) was tested by a disc diffusion method against food borne pathogens (Escherichia coli, Salmonella paratyphi A, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Yersinia enterocolitica, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Aeromonas hydrophila, Campylobacter jejuni, Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus). The major components in essential oils were monoterpenes hydrocarbons, α-pinene, limonene; monoterpene phenol, carvacrol and oxygenated monoterpenes, camphor, 1,8-cineole, eucalyptol, linalool and linalyl acetate. Although the antimicrobial effect of essential oils varied depending on the chemical composition of the essential oils and specific microorganism tested, majority of the oils exhibited antibacterial activity against one or more strains. The essential oil with the lowest inhibition zones was juniper with the values varied from 1.5 to 6 mm. However, the components of essential oil of thyme and pine oil are highly active against food borne pathogen, generating the largest inhibition zones for both gram negative and positive bacteria (5.25-28.25 mm vs. 12.5-30 mm inhibition zones). These results indicate the possible use of the essential oils on food system as antimicrobial agents against food-borne pathogen. The article also offers some promising patents on applications of essential oils on food industry as antimicrobial agent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / analysis
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / growth & development
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Foodborne Diseases / microbiology
  • Foodborne Diseases / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Patents as Topic
  • Pinus / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / analysis
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Thymus Plant / chemistry*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Extracts