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Antimicrobial Activity of the Essential Oils of Thymus vulgaris L. Measured Using a Bioimpedometric Method

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The essential oils obtained from Thymus vulgaris L. harvested at four ontogenetic stages were evaluated for their biological activity and chemical composition. The thyme essential oils were tested for their inhibitory effects against nine strains of gram-negative bacteria and six strains of gram-positive bacteria. The bioimpedance method was chosen for studying the antibacterial activity of the essential oils and the parameter chosen for defining and quantifying the antibacterial activity of the essential oils was the detection time. The plate counting technique was used to study the inhibitory effect by direct contact. All the thyme essential oils examined had a significant bacteriostatic activity against the microorganisms tested. This activity was more marked against the gram-positive bacteria. The oil from thyme in full flower was the most effective at stopping the growth of the microbial species examined. The oils tested were also shown to have good antibacterial activity by direct contact, which appeared to be more marked against the gram-negative bacteria. Only a few of the species were capable of recovering at least 50% of their metabolic function after contact with the inhibitor, while most of the strains were shown to have been inactivated almost completely. Escherichia coli O157:H7 was the most sensitive species, given that after contact with even the lowest concentration of oil cells could not be recovered.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Dipartimento di Scienze degli Alimenti, Facoltà di Agraria, Università degli Studi di Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy 2: Istituto di Ispezione degli Alimenti di Origine Animale, Facoltà di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20121 Milano, Italy

Publication date: September 1, 1999

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