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      Multidisciplinary Approach to Determine the Optimal Time and Period for Extracting the Essential Oil from Mentha suaveolens Ehrh †

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          A comprehensive study on essential oils (EOs) extracted from some Mentha suaveolens L. samples, collected in the countryside of Tarquinia, is reported. In this study, the procedure for essential oil preparation, in terms of harvesting and extraction time, was analyzed in detail for the first time. The GC/MS analysis, carried out on 18 samples, revealed that piperitenone oxide (PO), the main essential oils’ chemical constituent, is primarily responsible for the related antifungal activity. Nevertheless, EOs with lower PO content indicate that other chemicals, such as para-cymenene, may participate in exerting the EOs’ antifungal effect. Furthermore, the bacterial reverse mutation assay highlighted lack of mutagenic effect in all tested samples. Analysis of the results indicated that for higher activity, the essential oils should be produced with 3 h maximum hydrodistillation, regardless of the harvesting time. Differently, the maximum essential oil yield can be obtained in August and the highest piperitenone oxide percentage is obtainable in July.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Essential oils: their antibacterial properties and potential applications in foods--a review.

          In vitro studies have demonstrated antibacterial activity of essential oils (EOs) against Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella typhimurium, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Shigella dysenteria, Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus at levels between 0.2 and 10 microl ml(-1). Gram-negative organisms are slightly less susceptible than gram-positive bacteria. A number of EO components has been identified as effective antibacterials, e.g. carvacrol, thymol, eugenol, perillaldehyde, cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid, having minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 0.05-5 microl ml(-1) in vitro. A higher concentration is needed to achieve the same effect in foods. Studies with fresh meat, meat products, fish, milk, dairy products, vegetables, fruit and cooked rice have shown that the concentration needed to achieve a significant antibacterial effect is around 0.5-20 microl g(-1) in foods and about 0.1-10 microl ml(-1) in solutions for washing fruit and vegetables. EOs comprise a large number of components and it is likely that their mode of action involves several targets in the bacterial cell. The hydrophobicity of EOs enables them to partition in the lipids of the cell membrane and mitochondria, rendering them permeable and leading to leakage of cell contents. Physical conditions that improve the action of EOs are low pH, low temperature and low oxygen levels. Synergism has been observed between carvacrol and its precursor p-cymene and between cinnamaldehyde and eugenol. Synergy between EO components and mild preservation methods has also been observed. Some EO components are legally registered flavourings in the EU and the USA. Undesirable organoleptic effects can be limited by careful selection of EOs according to the type of food.
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            Antimicrobial activity of essential oils and other plant extracts.

            The antimicrobial activity of plant oils and extracts has been recognized for many years. However, few investigations have compared large numbers of oils and extracts using methods that are directly comparable. In the present study, 52 plant oils and extracts were investigated for activity against Acinetobacter baumanii, Aeromonas veronii biogroup sobria, Candida albicans, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia col, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serotype typhimurium, Serratia marcescens and Staphylococcus aureus, using an agar dilution method. Lemongrass, oregano and bay inhibited all organisms at concentrations of < or = 2.0% (v/v). Six oils did not inhibit any organisms at the highest concentration, which was 2.0% (v/v) oil for apricot kernel, evening primrose, macadamia, pumpkin, sage and sweet almond. Variable activity was recorded for the remaining oils. Twenty of the plant oils and extracts were investigated, using a broth microdilution method, for activity against C. albicans, Staph. aureus and E. coli. The lowest minimum inhibitory concentrations were 0.03% (v/v) thyme oil against C. albicans and E. coli and 0.008% (v/v) vetiver oil against Staph. aureus. These results support the notion that plant essential oils and extracts may have a role as pharmaceuticals and preservatives.
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              Antibacterial and antifungal properties of essential oils.

               D Kalemba,  A Kunicka (2003)
              In recent years there has been an increasing interest in the use of natural substances, and some questions concerning the safety of synthetic compounds have encouraged more detailed studies of plant resources. Essential oils, odorous and volatile products of plant secondary metabolism, have a wide application in folk medicine, food flavouring and preservation as well as in fragrance industries. The antimicrobial properties of essential oils have been known for many centuries. In recent years (1987-2001), a large number of essential oils and their constituents have been investigated for their antimicrobial properties against some bacteria and fungi in more than 500 reports. This paper reviews the classical methods commonly used for the evaluation of essential oils antibacterial and antifungal activities. The agar diffusion method (paper disc and well) and the dilution method (agar and liquid broth) as well as turbidimetric and impedimetric monitoring of microorganism growth in the presence of tested essential oils are described. Factors influencing the in vitro antimicrobial activity of essential oils and the mechanisms of essential oils action on microorganisms are reported. This paper gives an overview on the susceptibility of human and food-borne bacteria and fungi towards different essential oils and their constituents. Essential oils of spices and herbs (thyme, origanum, mint, cinnamon, salvia and clove) were found to possess the strongest antimicrobial properties among many tested.

                Author and article information

                Role: Academic Editor
                26 May 2015
                June 2015
                : 20
                : 6
                : 9640-9655
                [1 ]Department of Drug Chemistry and Technology, “Sapienza” University, P.le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy; E-Mails: stefania.garzoli@ (S.G.); federico.pepi@ (F.P.)
                [2 ]Rome Center for Molecular Design, Department of Drug Chemistry and Technology, “Sapienza” University, P.le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy; E-Mails: adele.pirolli@ (A.P.); gianni.sartorelli@ (G.S.); mijatboz@ (M.B.)
                [3 ]Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, “Sapienza” University, P.le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy; E-Mails: vavala.elisabetta@ (E.V.); letizia.angiolella@ (L.A.)
                [4 ]Department of Physiology and Pharmacology “Vittorio Erspamer”, “Sapienza” University, P.le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy; E-Mails: antonella.disotto@ (A.D.S.); gabriela.mazzanti@ (G.M.)
                Author notes

                Rino Ragno dedicates this work to his friend Aldo Peparello, passed away prematurely, without him this study would not have be thought.

                [* ] Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: rino.ragno@ ; Tel.: +39-6-4991-3937; Fax: +39-6-4991-3627.
                © 2015 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (



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