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Composition and Antimicrobial Properties of Sardinian Juniperus Essential Oils against Foodborne Pathogens and Spoilage Microorganisms

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Abstract:

In this work, the chemical compositions and antimicrobial properties of Juniperus essential oils and of their main components were determined. Five berry essential oils obtained from different species of Juniperus growing wild in Sardinia were analyzed. The components of the essential oils were identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis. The antimicrobial activities of the oils and their components against food spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms were determined by a broth microdilution method. The GC-MS analysis showed a certain variability in the concentrations of the main constituents of the oils. α-Pinene was largely predominant in the oils of the species J. phoenicea subsp. turbinata and J. oxycedrus. α-Pinene and myrcene constituted the bulk (67.56%) of the essential oil of J. communis. Significant quantitative differences were observed for myrcene, δ-3-carene, and D-germacrene. The results of the antimicrobial assay show that the oils of J. communis and J. oxycedrus failed to inhibit any of the microorganisms at the highest concentrations tested (MLC ≥ 900 μg/ml), while the oils extracted from J. turbinata specimens were active against fungi, particularly against a strain of Aspergillus flavus (an aflatoxin B1 producer). Of the single compounds tested, δ-3-carene was found to possess the broadest spectrum of activity and appeared to contribute significantly to the antifungal activity observed for J. turbinata oils. This activity may be helpful in the prevention of aflatoxin contamination for many foods.

Keywords:

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Experimental Biology, University of Cagliari, S.S. 554 Km. 4,500, 09042 Monserrato (CA), Sardinia, Italy 2: Department of Toxicology, University of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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