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Open Access Research article

Caryocar brasiliense supercritical CO2 extract possesses antimicrobial and antioxidant properties useful for personal care products

Lilian FB Amaral13*, Patricia Moriel1, Mary Ann Foglio2 and Priscila G Mazzola1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Pathology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Campinas (FCM-UNICAMP)–Rua Tessália Vieira de Camargo, 126 Campinas, SP, Brasil

2 CPQBA–Multidisciplinary Center of Chemical, Biological and Agricultural Researches, University of Campinas (UNICAMP)–Rua Alexandre Cazellato, 999, Vila Betel, Paulínia, SP, Brasil

3 Rua Horácio Cenci, 345, Apto 32, Campolim, Postal Code: 18047-800 Sorocaba, São Paulo, Brazil

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:73  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-73

Published: 24 February 2014



The cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries have an increasing interest in replacing synthetic antimicrobials in dermatological products due to increased microbial resistance to conventional antimicrobial agents. Pequi (Caryocar brasiliense) is a native fruit tree of the Brazilian Cerrado, specifically used in cosmetics, in the food industry, and for medicinal purposes. Leishmanicidal and antifungal activities have been reported previously. This study was designed to evaluate the antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of a C. brasiliense extract obtained by supercritical CO2 extraction.


The minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) against Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus were determined by the classical microdilution method. Antiseptic activity against these organisms was evaluated by the plate diffusion method. The antioxidant potential of the extract was evaluated using a method based on the oxidation of 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS). The extract’s chemical profile was analyzed for the presence of alkaloids, saponins, anthraquinones, steroids, tannins, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds according to standard colorimetric methods.


The C. brasiliense supercritical CO2 extract exhibits antimicrobial activity against all bacteria tested. It also possesses antioxidant activity, when compared to a vitamin E standard.


The C. brasiliense supercritical CO2 extract may be useful for the development of personal care products, primarily for antiseptic skin products that inactivate, reduce, prevent, or arrest the growth of microorganisms with the inherent intent to mitigate or prevent disease as well as products that minimize damage caused by free radicals.

Pequi; Supercritical CO2 extraction; Antimicrobial activity; Antioxidant activity