This study aims to investigate the chemical composition, antioxidant, and antimicrobial activity of Citrus aurantium L zest essential oil. The identification of the chemical compounds was done using chromatography analysis. The antioxidant activity was studied by the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging assay. Results showed that the main components of the essential oil were limonene (85.22%), β-myrcene (4.3%), and α-pinene (1.29%). Regarding the DPPH radical scavenging ability, the zest essential oil showed higher activity than limonene. The antimicrobial activity of the essential oil against pathogenic [Staphylococcus aureus NBIMCC 3703, Salmonella sp. (clinical isolate), Pseudomonas aeruginosa NBIMCC 1390, Bacillus subtilis NBIMCC 1208, Escherichia coli NBIMCC 3702] microorganisms by disc-diffusion method was examined. Gram-positive bacteria were more sensitive to the oil (inhibition zones being between 9 and 12.5 mm) and the minimum inhibitory concentration was more than 600 ppm; Gram-negative bacteria were less sensitive. The obtained essential oil displayed promising results for its application as a biopreservative agent.
Keywords: antimicrobial activity; antioxidant activity; chemical composition; essential oil; gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS).