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J Appl Microbiol. 1997 Jun;82(6):759-62.

Bioactivity of selected plant essential oils against Listeria monocytogenes.

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  • 1School of Applied Science, South Bank University, London, UK.


Ninety-three different commercial essential oils were screened for activity against 20 Listeria monocytogenes strains in vitro and the results correlated against the actual chemical composition of each oil. There was a substantial difference in the activity between different essential oils as expected, but there was also a difference in activity between different samples of the same essential oil. Strong anti-Listeria activity was often correlated with essential oils containing a high percentage of monoterpenes, eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, thymol, and sometimes with citronellol, limonene and geraniol. However, as there was often no correlation between the anti-Listeria activity and the main chemical components, it is possible that either there is a more complex relationship with the chemical composition (which includes the minor components) or that substantial adulteration had occurred in some essential oil samples.

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