Screening for inhibitory activity of essential oils on selected bacteria, fungi and viruses

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The purpose of this study was to examine the inhibitory effect of essential oils against a broad spectrum of microorganisms including bacteria, yeast, molds, and two bacteriophage. The inhibitory effects of 45 oils on eight bacteria (four Gram positive and four Gram negative), two fungi, and one yeast were examined using the disk assay method. Phage inhibition was measured by mixing the oils with a phage suspension, incubating the mixture at 4°C for 24 h, then plating on a lawn of indicator bacteria and assaying for plaque production. Of the oils tested, all oils exhibited inhibition over activity relative to controls. However, a number exhibited only weak inhibition against several gram positive bacteria. Gram negative bacteria were generally more resistant than Gram positive bacteria to oil treatment with Pseudomonas aeruginosa being the most resistant bacteria. Only cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) and tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oils showed an inhibitory effect against all the test organisms and phage. Coriander oil (Coriandrum sativum) highly inhibited Gram positive bacteria and fungi. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) oils showed a high degree of inhibition against both phage types, while 8 oils showed no inhibition against either phage. Angelica (Angelica archangelicd) and pine (Pinus sylvestris) oils inhibited the bacteria, but had no effect on any fungi. Oils that exhibited high antimicrobial properties and the broadest range of inhibition included cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), savory (Satureja montana), Roman chamomile (Cbamaemelum nobile), rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora), spearmint (Mentha spicata) and tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). © 2000, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.




Chao, S. C., Young, D. G., & Oberg, C. J. (2000). Screening for inhibitory activity of essential oils on selected bacteria, fungi and viruses. Journal of Essential Oil Research, 12(5), 639–649.

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