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J Food Prot. 2004 Jun;67(6):1252-6.

In vitro antimicrobial activity of essential oils from aromatic plants against selected foodborne pathogens.

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  • 1Departamento de Producción Animal y Ciencia de los Alimentos, Unidad Higiene, Inspección, Control y Microbiología de los Alimentos, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Zaragoza, Miguel Servet, 177 Zaragoza, Spain.


The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of selected essential oils for the control of growth and survival of pathogenic microorganisms of significant importance in food hygiene and to determine whether the antimicrobial effect was due to the major compounds of the oils. MIC and MBC were determined by the tube dilution method. Essential oils from Thymus vulgaris from Spain and France, Salvia sclarea, Salvia officinalis, Salvia lavandulifolia, Lavandula latifolia, Lavandula angustifolia, three hybrids of Lavandula latifolia x Lavandula angustifolia (Lavandin 'Super', Lavandin 'Abrialis', and Lavandin 'Grosso'), Rosmarinus officinalis, Hissopus officinalis, and Satureja montana were evaluated. Inhibition ranged from the strong activity of Satureja montana and Thymus vulgaris (France) to no inhibition with Salvia sclarea and Hissopus officinalis for each of the test strains: Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Typhimurium, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Yersinia enterocolitica, Shigella flexneri, Listeria monocytogenes serovar 4b, and Staphylococcus aureus. Because some of the essential oils were highly inhibitory in small quantities to selected pathogenic microorganisms, they may provide alternatives to conventional antimicrobial additives in foods.

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