This study addresses the chemical composition of some commercial essential oils (clove, juniper, oregano, and marjoram oils), as well as appropriate herbal extracts obtained in the process of cold maceration and their biological activity against selected Escherichia coli strains: E. coli ATTC 25922, E. coli ATTC 10536, and E. coli 127 isolated from poultry waste. On the basis of the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS) analysis, it was found that the commercial essential oils revealed considerable differences in terms of the composition and diversity of terpenes, terpenoids and sesquiterpenes as compared with the extracts obtained from plant material. The commercial clove, oregano, and marjoram oils showed antibacterial properties against all the tested strains of E. coli. However, these strains were not sensitive to essential oils obtained from the plant material in the process of maceration. The tested strains of E. coli show a high sensitivity, mainly against monoterpenes (α-pinene, β-pinene, α,β,γ-terpinene, limonene) and some terpenoids (thymol, carvacrol). The commercial juniper oil contained mainly monoterpenes and monoterpenoids, while the extracts contained lower amounts of monoterpenes and high amounts of sesquiterpenes-the anti-microbiotic properties of the juniper herbal extract seem to be caused by the synergistic activity of mono- and sesquiterpenes.
Keywords: Escherichia coli; essential oils; gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.