West Indian Med J 2016; 65 (1): 8
Antimicrobial Activity of the Essential Oil from the Leaves and Seeds of Coriandrum
sativum toward Food-borne Pathogens
M Rezaei1, 2, F Karimi1, N Shariatifar1, I Mohammadpourfard1, E Shiri Malekabad3
The increasing incidence of drug-resistant pathogens and toxicity of existing antibacterial compounds has
drawn attention toward the antimicrobial activity of natural products. The purpose of this study is to
evaluate the antimicrobial activity of the essential oil of the leaves and seeds of Coriandrum sativum.
The five strains of bacteria comprising Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Yersinia enterocolitica,
Salmonella enterica and Vibrio cholerae were used for the antibacterial tests. In this study, antimicro-
bial effects of the essential oil from the leaves and seeds of Coriandrum sativum are evaluated by deter-
mining the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC), the inhibition zone and minimum bactericidal
concentration (MBC). The essential oil from Coriandrum sativum was extracted by steam distillation.
The results indicate that the antimicrobial activities against the five pathogens were in the range of 2.5–
320 g/mL. Increase in essential oil concentration caused significant increase in inhibitory feature. The
essential oil of the leaves and seeds of Coriandrum sativum showed antimicrobial activity against the
food-borne pathogenic bacteria. Thus, its oil can be used as an alternative to synthetic food preserva-
tive without toxic effects. Also, it can be used in biotechnological fields as ingredients in antibiotics and
the pharmaceutical industry. These results suggest that the essential oil of C sativum leaves and seeds
may have potential use in pharmaceutical and food industries for preservatives or antimicrobial agents.
Keywords: Coriandrum sativum, essential oil, food-borne pathogen, food safety
La Actividad Antimicrobiana del Aceite Esencial de las Hojas y Semillas del
Coriandrum sativum Hacia los Agentes Patógenos Transmitidos por los Alimentos
M Rezaei1, 2, F Karimi1, N Shariatifar1, I Mohammadpourfard1, E Shiri Malekabad3
La creciente incidencia de patógenos resistentes a los medicamentos y la toxicidad de los compuestos
antibacterianos existentes, han atraído la atención sobre la actividad antimicrobiana de los productos
naturales. El propósito de este estudio es evaluar la actividad antimicrobiana del aceite esencial de las
hojas y las semillas del Coriandrum sativum (conocido popularmente como cilantro). Cinco cepas de
bactericida – las cuales abarcaron Staphylococcus aureus, Yersinia enterocolítica, Salmonella enterica
y Vibrio cholerae – fueron utilizadas para las pruebas antibacterianas. En este estudio, los efectos an-
timicrobianos del aceite esencial de las hojas y las semillas del Coriandrum sativum, fueron evaluados
determinando la concentración mínima inhibitoria (CIM), la zona de inhibición y la concentración
bactericida mínima (CBM). El aceite esencial del Coriandrum sativum se extrajo por destilación al
vapor. Los resultados indican que la actividad antimicrobiana contra los cinco patógenos estuvieron
en el rango de 2.5–320 µg/mL. El aumento de la concentración del aceite esencial produjo un aumento
significa-tivo de la función inhibitoria. El aceite esencial de las hojas y semillas del Coriandrum
sativum demos-tró poseer actividad antimicrobiana contra las bacterias patógenas transmitidas por
los alimentos. Por lo tanto, este aceite puede utilizarse como alternativa a los preservativos sintéticos
de los alimentos, sin efectos tóxicos. También puede usarse en la industria farmacéutica y en el campo
biotecnológico como ingrediente de los antibióticos. Estos resultados sugieren que el aceite esencial de
las hojas y semillas
From: 1Department of Environmental Health, 2Department of Biology,
Payame Noor University and 3Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics,
School of Public Health, Tehran, Iran.Tehran University of Medical Sciences
(TUMS), Tehran, Iran.
Correspondence: Dr N Shariatifar, Department of Environmental Health
Engineer, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences
(TUMS), Tehran, Iran. E-mail: Nshariatifar@ut.ac.ir
Food-borne disease resulting from consumption of food con-
taminated with pathogenic bacteria has been of vital concern to
public health. Salmonella, Staphylococcus, E coli, Vibrio
cholerae and Yersinia enterocolitica are responsible for severe
food-borne illnesses. These diseases are transmitted through
various foods (fish, dairy products, cured or processed meat,
egg, poultry, seafood, salad, fruits and vegetables). To increase
food safety and reduce economic losses due to food-borne
pathogens, the use of natural products (ie medicinal plants) as
antimicrobial compounds seems to be an important way to con-
trol the presence of pathogenic bacteria and to extend the shelf
life of processed food (1). Preservatives are designed to pre-
vent food spoilage by pathogens and to increase the storage
shelf life of foods. At the moment, many food additives ie ben-
zoic, ascorbic and sorbic acid are used in the food industry.
Although these synthetic preservatives are effective, they can
be harmful to human health and consequently, an increasing
number of consumers choose food products which are preser-
vative-free or contain only trace amounts (2). Because of an
increase in the antibiotic-resistant micro-organisms and resid-
ual and adverse effects of chemical antibiotics, there has been
an increasing interest in the discovery of new, natural antimi-
crobials (3). Essential oils are compounds obtained from
spices, aromatic herbs, leaves and seeds, and flowers and are
characterized by their aroma (4). Essential oils have many
applications in traditional medicine and also in food preserva-
tion (5). Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L) is an annual herb
that belongs to the family Apiaceae (synonymous with Um-
belliferae). Coriander is considered both a herb and a spice
since both its leaves and its seeds are used as a seasoning
Coriander seeds have a health supporting reputation that
is high on the list of healing spices. It has traditionally been re-
ferred to as antidiabetic (6), anti-inflammatory, cholesterol
lowering (6), carminative, diuretic, stimulant, stomachic, re-
frigerant, aphrodisiac and analgesic (7). The oil has a charac-
teristic odour of linalool and a mild, sweet, warm, aromatic
flavour. In food technology, coriander oil is used as a flavour-
ing agent and flavour enhancer. Coriander oil is approved for
food uses by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the
Council of Europe (CoE). Coriander is used for cooking and
for children’s digestive upset and diarrhoea. The Greeks and
Romans also used coriander to flavour beverages and as a med-
icine (8). The use of coriander to accelerate childbirth has been
cited in manuscript illustrations (from the early 13th century) on
medieval midwifery (9). The leaves and seeds (dried) have
been in use for almost 7000 years (10). The essential oil has
been used as a food and aroma ingredient since the 1900s (11).
The antimicrobial activity of medicinal plants and their extracts
have been identified since antiquity. Due to the increased re-
sistance of pathogens and the need for new food preservatives,
the potential use of essential oils as antimicrobial agents has
been the subject of new investigations. Studies also suggest
that the volatile oils found in the leaves of C sativum plant may
have antimicrobial activity against food-borne pathogens such
as Salmonella species (12). Antimicrobial activity has been
reported from the essential oil of Coriandrum sativum leaves
and seeds against different species of Candida, Gram-posi-
tive/negative bacteria and fungi (13–15). Essential oil of Co-
riandum sativum shows pronounced antibacterial and anti-
fungal effects (16). Wong and Kitts (2006) reported antimi-
crobial activity from the ethanolic and aqueous extracts of C
sativum against Bacillus subtilis and E coli (17). The purpose
of this study is to evaluate the antimicrobial activities of the
essential oil extracted from Iranian C sativum leaves and seeds
against Gram-positive and Gam-negative food-borne patho-
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The leaves and seeds of Coriandrum sativum were collected
from Arak, Iran, during May 2013. The specimen was identi-
fied by the herbarium of medicinal plants, Tehran University
of Medical Sciences.
The essential oils of the leaves and seeds of coriander
(C sativum L) were obtained by hydro distillation using a
Clevenger apparatus; 300 g of leaves and seeds were placed
with sufficient distilled water to cover the material. Extrac-
tion continued for three consecutive hours after the water had
begun to boil. The percentage of essential oil extraction was
5.3% by this method.
Antimicrobial activity test
Disk diffusion test
The essential oils were tested against Staphylococcus aureus
ATCC 25913, Escherichia coli ATCC 8739, Salmonella en-
terica PTCC 1709, Vibrio cholerae PTCC 1611 and Yersinia
enterocolitica PTCC (1477). The bacteria were obtained from
the Microbiology Reference Laboratory (BoAli Hospital,
The bacteria were cultured in brain heart infusion (BHI)
for 18 hours at 37 ◦C, and resuspended in 0.5 Mac Farland
Standard (5 × 108CFU/mL) and inoculated directly in boards
with Mueller-Hinton Agar (Merck). After the inoculation of
each micro-organism, the agar diffusion method was used, put-
del Coriandrum sativum puede tener un uso potencial en las industrias farmacéutica y alimentaria como
agente preservativo o antimicrobiano.
Palabras claves: Coriandrum sativum, aceite esencial, patógenos transmitidos por los alimentos, seguridad alimentaria
West Indian Med J 2016; 65 (1): 9
Rezaei et al
ting 10 µL of essential oil on paper disks (6 mm in diameter)
at 37 ◦C/24 hours, after which time the halos of inhibition were
Determination of MIC and MBC on culture media
Stock solution of coriander essential oil [EO] (100 000 g/mL)
in 10% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) was prepared. Then two-
fold serial dilutions of EO (2.5 l/mL to 320 l/mL) were pre-
pared. At first, 180 L of sterile broth was added to each well
of a 96-well microtitre-plate. Then 20 L of the microbial sus-
pension and 20 L of each EO concentrations were added to
the designed wells. Thus, the achieved EO concentrations
were 2.5 l/mL to 320 l/mL. For every experiment, two
growth controls consisting of BHI broth without essential oil
and BHI broth containing DMSO inoculated with the diluted
medium culture and one sterility control containing essential
oil were run in each plate. The plates were finally incubated
at 37 °C for 24 hours. The minimum inhibitory concentrations
(MICs) were chosen as the least concentrations of the EO re-
sulting in perfect inhibition of visible growth in the broth
To evaluate the minimum bactericidal concentrations
(MBCs) of the EO, 0.1 mL from non-turbid wells were sub-
cultured on BHI agar and incubated at 37 °C for 24 hours.
Then the lowest concentrations of EO that allowed less than
0.1% of the original inoculum to survive was considered as
All experiments were done in triplicate. Statistical analysis was
performed using SPSS software. The results showing p< 0.05
were considered as significant.
Coriander essential oil and its components are known to ex-
hibit widespread antimicrobial activity (16, 20). Data for co-
riander essential oil susceptibility testing by broth micro-dilu-
tion are shown in Table 1.
All bacterial strains studied were inhibited by oil from
the leaves and seeds of coriander, with different degrees of in-
hibition. The MIC values of coriander seed essential oil were
as follows: E coli and Salmonella enterica were 160 g/mL,
Staphylococcus aureus and Vibrio cholerae were 20 g/mL
and for Yersinia enterocolitica, 80 g/mL. Also, MBCs for the
mentioned bacteria were 160 g/mL, 320 g/mL, 40 g/mL,
80 g/mL and 320 g/mL, respectively. So, according to these
findings, S aureus and Vibrio cholerae were more sensitive
than others to the essential oil (Table 1). The MIC levels of the
oil from the leaves of coriander against the bacterial strains
were 5 g/mL, 5 g/mL, 2.5 g/mL, 40 g/mL and 80 g/mL
for S aureus, Vibrio cholerae, Yersinia enterocolitica, E coli
and Salmonella, respectively. Meanwhile, the MBC of
coriander leaf oil was 5 g/mL, 10 g/mL, 10 g/mL, 80 g/
mL and 80 g/mL, respectively (Table 1). There was no
significant difference (p > 0.05) between bacterial strains in
terms of in-hibitory halo diameter. But there was a
statistically significant difference between the inhibitory halo
diameter of the essential oil of the leaves and seeds of C
The results of other methods showed that the essential
oil of the seeds and leaves of coriander (Coriandrum sativum
L) showed antimicrobial activity against all of the bacterial
strains used in this study: Staphylococcus aureus (Gram-posi-
tive), with an inhibitory zone of 12.5 mm and 13.3 mm, Sal-
monella enterica (Gram-negative), with an inhibitory zone of
8.16 mm and 10.6 mm, E coli (Gram -), with an inhibitory
zones of 8.5 mm and 11 mm, Vibrio cholerae (Gram -), with an
inhibitory zone of 10.16 mm and 12.17 mm and Yersinia ente-
rocolitica (Gram +), with an inhibitory zone of 10.33 mm and
11.33 mm, respectively (Table 2).
Antimicrobial Activity of the Essential Oil from Coriandrum sativum
Table 1: Determination of MIC and MBC value (g/mL) for essential oil from the leaves and seeds of Coriandrum
sativum against pathogenic bacterial strains
Staphylococcus Vibrio Yersinia Escherichia
aureus cholerae enterocolitica coli Salmonella
Test Seed Leaf Seed Leaf Seed Leaf Seed Leaf Seed Leaf
MIC 20 5 20 5 80 2.5 160 40 160 80
MBC 40 5 80 10 320 10 160 80 320 80
MIC: minimum inhibitory concentration; MBC: minimum bactericidal concentration
Table 2: Comparison of average inhibitory halo diameter (mm) of various bacterial strains for essential oil of
Coriandrum sativum seeds and leaves
Bacterial strain Samples Range Average ± SD Range Average ± SD
Staphylococcus aureus 3 1113.5 12.5 ± 1.32a1314 13.3 ± 0.57b
Escherichia coli 3 710 8.5 ± 1.5a1011.5 11 ± 0.87b
Vibrio cholerae 3 911.5 10.16 ± 1.25a1113 12.17 ± 1.04b
Yersinia enterocolitica 3 912 10.33 ± 1.52a1112 11.33 ± 0.58b
Salmonella 3 79.5 8.16 ± 1.25a9.511.5 10.6 ± 1.04b
Our results showed that higher concentrations of the essence
from the leaves and seeds of coriander increased the antibac-
terial effect. Antibacterial susceptibility was evaluated using
classical microbiological techniques, disk diffusion, MIC and
MBC determination. Our results showed that essential oil from
the leaves and seeds of coriander has an effective antimicrobial
activity against all bacteria tested. Begnami et al surveyed the
antimicrobial effect of the essence from the leaves of Corian-
drum sativum Lagainst different Candida species through MIC
from 125 g/mL (C parapsilosis CBS 604) to 500 g/mL [C
albicans CBS 562] (21). Another study obtained MIC for Co-
riandrum sativum L essence at concentration from 0.2 to
0.05% against Candida species (22). Coriander essential oil is
reported to possess antimicrobial activity against pathogenic
and saprophytic micro-organisms, indicating that it may be
useful as a disinfectant (13, 23). Also, Coriander essential oil
has been reported to inhibit a broad spectrum of micro-organ-
isms (15, 23). The coriander essential oil, at concentrations of
500 ppm, was effective against Saccharomyces ludwigii, Zy-
gosaccharomycesbailii, Salmonella enteriditis and Listeria in-
nocua (24). The MICs for coriander essential oil against
different bacteria were as follows: E coli O157:H7, 0.23%;
Listeria monocytogenes, 0.47%; S aureus, 0.4% and S cere-
visiae, 0.13% (25). The comparison of our results to those ob-
tained by Silva et al (2011) showed that all strains studied
(Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Salmonella ty-
phimurium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter bau-
mannii, B cereus, Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus
faecalis) were inhibited by coriander essential oil (26). The
essential oil from the leaf of Coriandrum sativum (1%, 5%,
10% and 20%) showed antimicrobial activity against
Bacillus cereus, Enterobacter faecalis, Salmonella paratyphi,
Escherichia coli, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas aeruginosa,
Serratia marcescens, Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella
pneumonia (27). Saeed and Tariq showed that all tested iso-
lates were found resistant to aqueous infusion and decoction of
C sativum (28). Another study showed that the essential oil
from Coriandrum sativum seeds was relatively more toxic
against C maculatus than T confusum (29). Also, Chaudhry
and Tariq found that decoction of C sativum does not have an-
tibacterial potential against Gram-positive and Gram-negative
bacteria (7). Aqueous decoction of coriander was found to
have no antimicrobial activity against Helicobacter pylori (30).
In another study, some researchers have found that C sativum
has excellent antibacterial activity against both Gram-positive
and Gram-negative bacteria (31). In a similar study on food-
borne pathogens, allicin and lysozyme conjugated nanocellu-
lose had good antifungal and antibacterial effects against
standard strains of Candida albicans,Aspergillus niger,
Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli (32). The differ-
ences between our results and that of other studies are proba-
bly due to the genotype difference of C sativum used in the
study, along with the growth ecosystem (habitat, temperature,
altitude) and experimental condition (pH and temperature).
Growth and performance of the plants in the ecosystems are
under the effect of many factors such as type, habitat, soil, al-
titude and geographical position. Each one of the factors may
be considerably effective on quality and quantity of the result.
This study emphasizes antimicrobial activity of the essential
oils from the leaves and seeds of coriander against food-borne
pathogenic bacteria. It has been observed that the essential oils
possess both bacteriostatic and bactericidal activity when
tested in vitro. This essential oil may be effective on other
Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. In conclusion, co-
riander essential oil can effectively kill food pathogenic bac-
teria, but further investigations are required to better evaluate
the suitability of coriander essential oil use for practical appli-
cations and to increase shelf life of food.
This study was approved and supported by the Research and
Ethics committees of Tehran University of Medical Sciences.
The authors are grateful to the Tehran University of Medical
Sciences (Students’ Scientific Research Center) for financial
support through Project no. 92-02-61-21900. The authors de-
clare that they have no competing interests.
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