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Open Access Maced J Med Sci. 2015 Sep 15;3(3):374-9. doi: 10.3889/oamjms.2015.082. Epub 2015 Jul 10.

Chemical Composition and Antifungal Activity of Ocimum basilicum L. Essential Oil.

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Complementary Medicine Department, Medical Researches Division, National Research Center, El-Behouth Street, Dokki, 12311 Cairo, Egypt.
Food Toxicology and Contaminants Department, National Research Center, El-Behouth Street, Dokki, 12311 Cairo, Egypt.
Pharmacognosy Department - National Research Center- El-Behouth Street, Dokki, 12311 Cairo, Egypt.
Biochemistry Department - Gizan University - K.S.A., Cairo, Egypt.



The leaves of Ocimum basilicum L. (basil) are used in traditional cuisine as spices; its essential oil has found a wide application in perfumery, dental products as well as antifungal agents.


To assess the chemical composition as well as the in vitro antifungal activity of O. basilicum L. essential oil against Aspergillus flavus fungal growth and aflatoxin B1 production.


The essential oil of O. basilicum was obtained by hydrodistillation and analysed using gas chromatography (GC) and GC coupled with mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The essential oil was tested for its effects on Aspergillus flavus (A. flavus) mycelial growth and aflatoxin B1 production in Yeast Extract Sucrose (YES) growth media. Aflatoxin B1 production was determined by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).


Nineteen compounds, representing 96.7% of the total oil were identified. The main components were as follows: linalool (48.4%), 1,8-cineol (12.2%), eugenol (6.6%), methyl cinnamate (6.2%), α-cubebene (5.7%), caryophyllene (2.5%), β-ocimene (2.1%) and α-farnesene (2.0%). The tested oil showed significant antifungal activity that was dependent on the used oil concentration. The complete inhibition of A. flavus growth was observed at 1000 ppm oil concentration, while marked inhibition of aflatoxin B1 production was observed at all oil concentrations tested (500, 750 and 1000 ppm).


These results confirm the antifungal activities of O. basilicum L. oil and its potential use to cure mycotic infections and act as pharmaceutical preservative against A. flavus growth and aflatoxin B1 production.


Aspergillus flavus; Ocimum basilicum L. essential oil; aflatoxins B1; antifungal activity; chemical composition

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