Natural antimicrobials as well as essential oils (EOs) have gained interest to inhibit pathogenic microorganisms and to control food borne diseases. Campylobacter spp. are one of the most common causative agents of gastroenteritis. In this study, cardamom, cumin, and dill weed EOs were evaluated for their antibacterial activities against Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli by using agar-well diffusion and broth microdilution methods, along with the mechanisms of antimicrobial action. Chemical compositions of EOs were also tested by gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The results showed that cardamom and dill weed EOs possess greater antimicrobial activity than cumin with larger inhibition zones and lower minimum inhibitory concentrations. The permeability of cell membrane and cell membrane integrity were evaluated by determining relative electric conductivity and release of cell constituents into supernatant at 260 nm, respectively. Moreover, effect of EOs on the cell membrane of Campylobacter spp. was also investigated by measuring extracellular ATP concentration. Increase of relative electric conductivity, extracellular ATP concentration, and cell constituents' release after treatment with EOs demonstrated that tested EOs affected the membrane integrity of Campylobacter spp. The results supported high efficiency of cardamom, cumin, and dill weed EOs to inhibit Campylobacter spp. by impairing the bacterial cell membrane.
Keywords: antimicrobials; cell constituents’ release; extracellular ATP concentration; relative electric conductivity.