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      In-vitro antimicrobial activity and chemical composition of Sardinian Thymus essential oils.

      Letters in Applied Microbiology
      Anti-Bacterial Agents, analysis, Chromatography, Gas, Gram-Negative Bacteria, drug effects, Gram-Positive Bacteria, Lamiaceae, chemistry, Microbial Sensitivity Tests, Monoterpenes, Plant Oils, pharmacology, Terpenes, Thymol

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          Abstract

          Essential oils and their components are becoming increasingly popular as naturally occurring antimicrobial agents. In this work the chemical composition and the antimicrobial properties of Thymus essential oils and of their main components were determined. Three essential oils obtained from different species of Thymus growing wild in Sardinia and a commercial sample of Thymus capitatus oil were analysed. The essential oil components were identified by GC/MS analysis. The antimicrobial activity of the oils and components was determined against a panel of standard reference strains and multiple strains of food-derived spoilage and pathogenic bacteria, using a broth microdilution method. The GC/MS analysis showed that the major constituents of the oils were monoterpene hydrocarbons and phenolic monoterpenes, but the concentration of these compounds varied greatly among the oils examined. The results of the antimicrobial assay showed that essential oils extracted from Sardinian Thymus species have an antimicrobial activity comparable to the one observed in other thyme oils. It seems also confirmed that the antimicrobial properties of thyme essential oils are mainly related to their high phenolic content. Among the single compounds tested carvacrol and thymol turned out to be the most efficient against both reference strains and food-derived bacteria. The results of this study confirmed the possibility of using thyme essential oils or some of their components in food systems to prevent the growth of foodborne bacteria and extend the shelf-life of processed foods.

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          Antimicrobial properties of plant essential oils and essences against five important food-borne pathogens.

          The antimicrobial properties of 21 plant essential oils and two essences were investigated against five important food-borne pathogens, Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella enteritidis, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes. The oils of bay, cinnamon, clove and thyme were the most inhibitory, each having a bacteriostatic concentration of 0.075% or less against all five pathogens. In general, Gram-positive bacteria were more sensitive to inhibition by plant essential oils than the Gram-negative bacteria. Campylobacter jejuni was the most resistant of the bacteria investigated to plant essential oils, with only the oils of bay and thyme having a bacteriocidal concentration of less than 1%. At 35 degrees C, L. monocytogenes was extremely sensitive to the oil of nutmeg. A concentration of less than 0.01% was bacteriostatic and 0.05% was bacteriocidal, but when the temperature was reduced to 4 degrees, the bacteriostatic concentration was increased to 0.5% and the bacteriocidal concentration to greater than 1%.
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            Antibacterial properties of plant essential oils

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              Antibacterial activity of some essential oil components against five foodborne pathogens

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