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J Med Food. 2015 Aug;18(8):935-7. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2014.0132. Epub 2015 Jan 19.

Antibacterial Investigation of Thyme Essential Oil and Its Main Constituents in Combination with Tetracycline.

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1 Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Niš , Niš, Serbia .
2 Center for Microbiology, Institute for Public Health , Niš, Serbia .
3 Clinic for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Diseases of Metabolism, Clinical Center Niš , Niš, Serbia .
4 Department of Sanitary Chemistry, Institute for Public Health , Niš, Serbia .


The chemical composition and antibacterial activity of Thymus glabrescens Willd. (thyme) essential oil were examined, as well as its association with tetracycline. The antibacterial activities of geraniol and thymol, the main constituents of T. glabrescens oil, were also determined. Gas chromatography and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry were used to analyze the chemical composition of the oil. The antibacterial activities of the oil, geraniol, and thymol were investigated by the broth microdilution method. The interactions of the essential oil, geraniol, and thymol with tetracycline, toward five selected strains, were evaluated using the microdilution checkerboard assay. Oxygenated monoterpenes were the most abundant compound class in the oil (57.14%), with geraniol (22.33%) as the major compound. The essential oil exhibited in vitro antibacterial activity against all tested bacterial strains. The combinations, essential oil-tetracycline and thymol-tetracycline, produced synergistic interaction to a greater extent compared with geraniol-tetracycline association. All synergistic combinations reduced the minimum effective dose of the antibiotic and, consequently, minimized its adverse side effects.


T. glabrescens; Thymol; antibiotic; geraniol; synergistic interactions

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