Antimicrobial activities of six essential oils commonly used as condiments in Brazil against Clostridium perfringens

Braz J Microbiol. 2016 Apr-Jun;47(2):424-30. doi: 10.1016/j.bjm.2015.10.001. Epub 2016 Mar 2.


Despite recent advances in food production technology, food-borne diseases (FBD) remain a challenging public health concern. In several countries, including Brazil, Clostridium perfringens is among the five main causative agents of food-borne diseases. The present study determines antimicrobial activities of essential oils of six condiments commonly used in Brazil, viz., Ocimum basilicum L. (basil), Rosmarinus officinalis L. (rosemary), Origanum majorana L. (marjoram), Mentha × piperita L. var. Piperita (peppermint), Thymus vulgaris L. (thyme) and Pimpinella anisum L. (anise) against C. perfringens strain A. Chemical compositions of the oils were determined by GC-MS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry). The identities of the isolated compounds were established from the respective Kováts indices, and a comparison of mass spectral data was made with those reported earlier. The antibacterial activity was assessed from minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) using the microdilution method. Minimum inhibitory concentration values were 1.25mgmL(-1) for thyme, 5.0mgmL(-1) for basil and marjoram, and 10mgmL(-1) for rosemary, peppermint and anise. All oils showed bactericidal activity at their minimum inhibitory concentration, except anise oil, which was only bacteriostatic. The use of essential oils from these common spices might serve as an alternative to the use of chemical preservatives in the control and inactivation of pathogens in commercially produced food systems.

Keywords: Antimicrobial activity; Clostridium perfringens; Essential oils; Food-borne disease; Spices.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / analysis
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Brazil
  • Clostridium perfringens / drug effects*
  • Clostridium perfringens / growth & development
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Ocimum basilicum / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / analysis
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Origanum / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / analysis
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Rosmarinus / chemistry
  • Thymus Plant / chemistry


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