Izadi et al. / Int. J. Agric. Biol., Vol. 12, No. 5, 2010
Iran is one of the richest countries of the world in
terms of having a substantial number of different medicinal
plants species grown in various ecological conditions
(Zargari, 1999). Investigation of antibacterial properties of
these plants has brought the opportunity of producing
natural-based and environment friendly new drugs that
could be replaced with the existing chemical ones to control
bacterial infections without unpleasant side effects
(Finnemore, 1926). There are many plant species that
control different kinds of infections through various
pathogen controlling mechanisms. These plants can easily
reduce the growth of pathogens and therefore are essential
to be more studied (Eloff, 1998).
In this study, the plants collected from both Hamedan
and Tehran regions showed various amounts of essential oil
ranging between 0.31 to 6.94% (W/W). The amount of
essential oil extracted from stem/leaf of feverfew plants was
considerably higher compared with the other parts of the
plants. The oil yield of T. argyrophyllum aerial parts has
been 3.3% (w/w) through steam distillation and 3.13-
10.67% by supercritical extraction method (Askari & Mirza,
1998; Rodrigues et al., 2003). Comparison of the number
and amount of essential oil chemical compositions in
Hamedan and Tehran samples showed that the genetic
constitution and environmental conditions could affect the
yield and composition of volatile oil produced by feverfew
plants. The influence of environmental and ecological
conditions on plants is huge; so that similar plant species
may show quite different pharmaceutical properties when
grown in various ecological conditions. Difference between
the populations of a single plant species grown in various
ecological regions is a natural phenomenon (Agrawal,
2003). So that the number of 19, 20, 21, 15 and 20 chemical
compositions were obtained from Hamedan samples, while
they were 17, 17, 18, 11 and 17 in Tehran plants. Camphor,
chrysanthenyl acetate and camphene were also the main
constituents of essential oils. The highest amount of camphor
were measured in AP, IF and RS of Hamedan samples.
These samples also contained more chrysanthenyl acetate
in AP, IF, Us and RS and camphene in SL, US and RS.
Some investigators have shown that the major
constituents of the essential oils extracted from aerial parts
of T. parthenium have been camphor (56.9%) followed by
camphene (12.7%) and p-cymene (5.2%) (Akpulat et al.,
2005). Camphor exists in the aerial parts of T. aucheranum
(11.6%), T. hiliophyllum (28.1%), T. argenteum (14%) and
T. argyrophyllum (22.3%) (Gören et al., 2002; Akpulat et
al., 2005; Salamci et al., 2007; Tabanca et al., 2007;
Omidbeigi, 2007; Askari, 2008).
Significant difference was observed between Gram
positive and Gram negative bacteria in terms of their
susceptibility, so that Gram positive bacteria were more
sensitive to antimicrobial activity of feverfew essential oil.
The higher sensitivity of Gram positive bacteria may be
explained according to their cell wall structure. Most studies
reporting the action of essential oils against food spoiling
organisms and food borne pathogens agree that essential oils
are relatively more active against Gram positive than Gram
negative bacteria (Lambert et al., 2001). Deans and Ritchie
(1987) and Imelouane et al. (2009) observed that the
susceptibility of Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria
to plant volatile oils had a little influence on growth
inhibition. It was often reported that Gram negative bacteria
were more resistant to the essential oils present in plants
(Smith-Palmer et al., 1998; Mann et al., 2000). The cell wall
structure of Gram negative bacteria is constituted essentially
with Lipopolysaccharides (LPS). This constituent avoids the
accumulation of the oils on the cell membrane (Bezić et al.,
2003). In addition, differences in susceptibility among the
microorganisms to the antimicrobial activity of essential oils
may also be explained by inherited genes on plasmids
(Dorman et al., 2000).
The antimicrobial activity of AP essential oil was
more than that of other parts and the antimicrobial activity
of samples collected from Hamedan was more compared
with those from Tehran, possibly because of the high
percentage of camphor. Camphor has been reported to have
significant antimicrobial activity (Salamci et al., 2007).
In conclusion, essential oil of feverfew showed
significant antimicrobial activity. camphor, chrysanthenyl
acetate and camphene were common in all the oils as three
major compounds. The results suggest that feverfew
essential oils possess some compounds with antimicrobial
properties, which can be used as antimicrobial agents in new
drugs for treatment of infectious diseases. Moreover, the
findings of this study demand further research on the
evaluation of antimicrobial properties of several
phytochemicals and in particular camphor.
Acknowledgment: The authors are thankful to G.
Mohamadi, R. Kiarostami, M. Abroft and R. Sharifi for
their help in this research.
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