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Chem Biodivers. 2014 Apr;11(4):571-80. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.201300153.

Myrtus communis essential oil: chemical composition and antimicrobial activities against food spoilage pathogens.

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Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Sciences of Gafsa, Zarroug 2112, Gafsa, Tunisia, (phone: +216-97-130430; fax: +216-74-565555).


Myrtus communis is a typical plant of the Mediterranean area, which is mainly used as animal and human food and, in folk medicine, for treating some disorders. In the present study, we evaluated in vitro antibacterial and antifungal properties of the essential oils of Myrtus communis (McEO), as well as its phytochemical composition. The GC/MS analysis of the essential oil revealed 17 compounds. Myrtenyl acetate (20.75%), 1,8-cineol (16.55%), α-pinene (15.59%), linalool (13.30%), limonene (8.94%), linalyl acetate (3.67%), geranyl acetate (2.99%), and α-terpineol (2.88%) were the major components. The antimicrobial activity of the essential oil was also investigated on several microorganisms. The inhibition zones and minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of bacterial strains were in the range of 16-28 mm and 0.078-2.5 mg/ml, respectively. The inhibitory activity of the McEO against Gram-positive bacteria was significantly higher than against Gram-negative. It also exhibited remarkable activity against several fungal strains. The investigation of the mode of action of the McEO by the time-kill curve against Listeria monocytogenes (food isolate) showed a drastic bactericidal effect after 5 min using a concentration of 312 μg/ml. These results evidence that the McEO possesses antimicrobial properties, and it is, therefore, a potential source for active ingredients for food and pharmaceutical industries.


Antibacterial activity; Antifungual activity; Essential oils; Myrtus communis

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