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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils

Seenivasan Prabuseenivasan, Manickkam Jayakumar and Savarimuthu Ignacimuthu*

Author Affiliations

Entomology Research Institute, Loyola College, Chennai – 600 034, India.

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2006, 6:39  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-6-39

Published: 30 November 2006

Abstract

Background:

To evaluate the antibacterial activity of 21 plant essential oils against six bacterial species.

Methods:

The selected essential oils were screened against four gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus vulgaris) and two gram-positive bacteria Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus at four different concentrations (1:1, 1:5, 1:10 and 1:20) using disc diffusion method. The MIC of the active essential oils were tested using two fold agar dilution method at concentrations ranging from 0.2 to 25.6 mg/ml.

Results:

Out of 21 essential oils tested, 19 oils showed antibacterial activity against one or more strains. Cinnamon, clove, geranium, lemon, lime, orange and rosemary oils exhibited significant inhibitory effect. Cinnamon oil showed promising inhibitory activity even at low concentration, whereas aniseed, eucalyptus and camphor oils were least active against the tested bacteria. In general, B. subtilis was the most susceptible. On the other hand, K. pneumoniae exhibited low degree of sensitivity.

Conclusion:

Majority of the oils showed antibacterial activity against the tested strains. However Cinnamon, clove and lime oils were found to be inhibiting both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Cinnamon oil can be a good source of antibacterial agents.