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J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Oct 5;53(20):7681-5.

Chemical composition and antibacterial activity of the essential oil and the gum of Pistacia lentiscus Var. chia.

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Department of Chemistry and Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, United Kingdom.


The essential oil and gum of Pistacia lentiscus var. chia, commonly known as the mastic tree, are natural antimicrobial agents that have found extensive uses in medicine in recent years. In this work, the chemical composition of mastic oil and gum was studied by GC-MS, and the majority of their components was identified. alpha-Pinene, beta-myrcene, beta-pinene, limonene, and beta-caryophyllene were found to be the major components. The antibacterial activity of 12 components of mastic oil and the oil itself was evaluated using the disk diffusion method. Furthermore, attempts were made to separate the essential oil into different fractions in order to have a better picture of the components responsible for its antibacterial activity. Several trace components that appear to contribute significantly to the antibacterial activity of mastic oil have been identified: verbenone, alpha-terpineol, and linalool. The sensitivity to these compounds was different for different bacteria tested (Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus subtilis), which suggests that the antibacterial efficacy of mastic oil is due to a number of its components working synergistically. The establishment of a correlation between the antibacterial activity of mastic oil and its components was the main purpose of this research. Mastic gum was also examined, but it proved to be more difficult to handle compared to the essential oil.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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