Antibacterial Activity of Plants Essential Oils Against Some Epidemiologically Relevant Food-Borne Pathogens

Moustafa A. El-Shenawy1, *, Hoda H. Baghdadi2, Lobna S. El-Hosseiny2
1 Department of Food Microbiology, National Research Center, Dokki, Cairo, Egypt
2 Department of Environmental Studies, Institute of Graduate Studies and Research, Alexandria University, Egypt

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El-Shenawy et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Food Microbiology, National Research Center, Dokki, Cairo, Egypt; Tel: +201222361622: Fax: +20233370931; E-mail:


The antibacterial activity of essential oils hydrodistilled from local anise, coriander, cumin, marjoram, rosemary and thyme were screened against a group of food-borne pathogens comprising Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium and Bacillus cereus. All the tested bacterial strains displayed varying degrees of susceptibility towards the examined oils. Nevertheless Gram-positive bacterial strains were more sensitive than Gram-negative organisms. Furthermore, the antimicrobial activities of the extracted essential oils were found to be related to their major components as identified by Gas chromatography-Mass spectroscopy. Essential oils containing phenolic or aldehydic terpenoids as major constituents were the most active (thyme and cumin oils), followed by those containing alcoholic terpenoids (marjoram and coriander oils). Meanwhile, essential oils containing ketonic terpenoids as major components were moderately active (rosemary oil) and those containing phenolic ethers exhibited relatively weak activity (anise oil). In food industries, the tested essential oils can be used as natural antimicrobial agents in the light of shift away from artificial agents and the move towards natural alternatives.

Keywords: Antibacterial activity, essential oils, extract of essential oils, food-borne pathogens, GC-MS analysis, Grampositive and Gram-negative bacteria.