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Does the essential oil of Lippia sidoides Cham. (pepper-rosmarin) affect its endophytic microbial community?

Thais Freitas da Silva1, Renata Estebanez Vollú1, Diogo Jurelevicius1, Daniela Sales Alviano1, Celuta Sales Alviano1, Arie Fitzgerald Blank2 and Lucy Seldin1*

Author affiliations

1 Instituto de Microbiologia Paulo de Góes, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Centro de Ciências da Saúde, Bloco I, Ilha do Fundão, Rio de Janeiro CEP 21941-590, Brazil

2 Departamento de Engenharia Agronômica, Universidade Federal de Sergipe, Aracajú, SE CEP 49100-000, Brazil

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Citation and License

BMC Microbiology 2013, 13:29  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-13-29

Published: 7 February 2013



Lippia sidoides Cham., also known as pepper-rosmarin, produces an essential oil in its leaves that is currently used by the pharmaceutical, perfumery and cosmetic industries for its antimicrobial and aromatic properties. Because of the antimicrobial compounds (mainly thymol and carvacrol) found in the essential oil, we believe that the endophytic microorganisms found in L. sidoides are selected to live in different parts of the plant.


In this study, the endophytic microbial communities from the stems and leaves of four L. sidoides genotypes were determined using cultivation-dependent and cultivation-independent approaches. In total, 145 endophytic bacterial strains were isolated and further grouped using either ERIC-PCR or BOX-PCR, resulting in 76 groups composed of different genera predominantly belonging to the Gammaproteobacteria. The endophytic microbial diversity was also analyzed by PCR-DGGE using 16S rRNA-based universal and group-specific primers for total bacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria and Actinobacteria and 18S rRNA-based primers for fungi. PCR-DGGE profile analysis and principal component analysis showed that the total bacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria and fungi were influenced not only by the location within the plant (leaf vs. stem) but also by the presence of the main components of the L. sidoides essential oil (thymol and/or carvacrol) in the leaves. However, the same could not be observed within the Actinobacteria.


The data presented here are the first step to begin shedding light on the impact of the essential oil in the endophytic microorganisms in pepper-rosmarin.

Lippia sidoides; Essential oil; Stem; Leaf; Endophytic bacteria and fungi; Plant-microorganism interaction