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Biological Activity of Cymbopogon schoenanthus Essential Oil

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Biological Activity of Cymbopogon schoenanthus Essential Oil

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A number of plant species, including _Cymbopogon schoenanthus_, are traditionally used for the treatment of various diseases. _C. schoenanthus_ is currently, traded in the Saudi markets, and thought to have medicinal value. This study aimed at investigating the biological activities of _C. schoenanthus_ against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and to identify its chemical ingredients. The inhibitory effects of water extracts of _C. schoenanthus_ essential oils were evaluated against ten isolates of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria using the agar well diffusion and dilution methods. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was assayed using the broth microdilution test on five of the ten isolates. The death rates was determined by the time kill assay, done according to the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) guidelines. The chemical composition of the essential oils of the plant was performed using GC/MS. The _C. schoenanthus_ essential oil was effective against _Escherichia coli_, _Staphylococcus aureus_, methicillin-sensitive (MSSA) _Staphylococcus aureus_ (MRSA) and _Klebsiella pneumoniae_. The essential oil was not effective against _Staphylococcus saprophyticus_ at the highest concentration applied of > 150 μg/ml. The MIC values were as follows: 9.37 μg/ml _for E. coli_ 4.69 μg/ml for _S. aureus_ (MRSA), 2.34 mg/ml for MSSA and 2.34 μg/ml for _K. pneumoniae_. The time-kill assay indicated that there was a sharp time dependent decline in _K. pneumoniae_ counts in the presence of the oil. This is in contrast to a gradual decline in the case of _S. aureus_ under the same conditions. The eight major components of the essential oil were: piperitone (14.6%), cyclohexanemethanol (11.6%), β-elemene (11.6%), α-eudesmol (11.5%), elemol (10.8%), β-eudesmol (8.5%), 2-naphthalenemethanol (7.1%) and γ-eudesmol (4.2%). The results of the present study provide a scientific validation for the traditional use of _C. schoenanthus_ as an antibacterial agent. Future work is needed to investigate and explore its application in the environmental and medical fields. In addition, to evaluating the efficacy of the individual ingredients separately to better understand the underlying mechanism.
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Biological activity of Cymbopogon schoenanthus
essential oil
Gasal M. Hashim
b
, Saad B. Almasaudi
a
, Esam Azhar
b,c
, Soad K. Al Jaouni
d
,
Steve Harakeh
b,*
a
Biology Department, Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia
b
Special Infectious Agents Unit, King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
c
Department of Medical Laboratory Technology, Faculty of Applied Medical Science, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah,
Saudi Arabia
d
Department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Received 23 February 2016; revised 7 May 2016; accepted 6 June 2016
KEYWORDS
Cymbopogon schoenanthus;
Essential oils;
Gram-positive;
Bacteria;
Gram-negative bacteria
Abstract Introduction: A number of plant species, including Cymbopogon schoenanthus, are tradi-
tionally used for the treatment of various diseases. C. schoenanthus is currently, traded in the Saudi
markets, and thought to have medicinal value. This study aimed at investigating the biological
activities of C. schoenanthus against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and to identify
its chemical ingredients.
Materials and methods: The inhibitory effects of water extracts of C. schoenanthus essential oils
were evaluated against ten isolates of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria using the
agar well diffusion and dilution methods. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was
assayed using the Broth microdilution test on five of the ten isolates. The death rates were deter-
mined by the time kill assay, done according to the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI)
guidelines. The chemical composition of the essential oils of the plant was performed using GC/MS.
Results: The C. schoenanthus essential oil was effective against Escherichia coli,Staphylococcus
aureus, methicillin-sensitive (MSSA) S. aureus (MRSA) and Klebsiella pneumoniae. The essential
oil was not effective against Staphylococcus saprophyticus at the highest concentration applied of
>150 lg/ml. The MIC values were as follows: 9.37 lg/ml for E. coli 4.69 lg/ml for S. aureus
(MRSA), 2.34 mg/ml for MSSA and 2.34 lg/ml for K. pneumoniae. The time-kill assay indicated
that there was a sharp time dependent decline in K. pneumoniae counts in the presence of the oil.
This is in contrast to a gradual decline in the case of S. aureus under the same conditions. The eight
*Corresponding author at: King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box 80216, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia.
Tel.: +966 0559392266.
E-mail address: sharakeh@gmail.com (S. Harakeh).
Peer review under responsibility of King Saud University.
Production and hosting by Elsevier
Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences (2016) xxx, xxxxxx
King Saud University
Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2016.06.001
1319-562X Ó2016 Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of King Saud University.
This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Please cite this article in press as: Hashim, G.M. et al., Biological activity of Cymbopogon schoenanthus essential oil. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences (2016),
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2016.06.001
major components of the essential oil were: piperitone (14.6%), cyclohexanemethanol (11.6%), b-
elemene (11.6%), a-eudesmol (11.5%), elemol (10.8%), b-eudesmol (8.5%), 2-naphthalenemethanol
(7.1%) and c-eudesmol (4.2%).
Conclusion: The results of the present study provide a scientific validation for the traditional use
of C. schoenanthus as an antibacterial agent. Future work is needed to investigate and explore its
application in the environmental and medical fields. In addition, to evaluating the efficacy of the
individual ingredients separately to better understand the underlying mechanism.
Ó2016 Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of King Saud University. This is an open access
article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
1. Introduction
Medicinal plants have been widely used in traditional medicine
for several centuries for the treatment of many health-related
ailments. According to the World Health Organization
(WHO), the majority of the world’s population depends on
traditional medicine for primary healthcare. There has been
an increasing interest in medicinal plants and their active ingre-
dients because of their potency and negligible adverse side
effects. In Saudi Arabia, medicinal plants account for more
than over 50% of all plants spices (1200 out of 2250) (Mossa
et al., 1987). Despite the indigenous knowledge of the healing
ability of certain plants in Saudi Arabia, few plant extracts and
essential oils have been assessed in vitro or in vivo for their ther-
apeutic potentials (Al Yahya et al., 1983). Recent published
data on medicinal plants worldwide revealed that some exhib-
ited: antioxidant (Narendran et al., 2016; Noorudheen and
Chandrasekharan, 2016; Puthur, 2016; Santhosh et al.,
2016), anti-diabetic and attenuation of insulin resistance
(Kannan and Agastian, 2015; Balamurugan, 2015), anti-
diarrheal activities (Antonisamy et al., 2015), cardio and hep-
atic protective ability (Nandhini and Bai, 2015; Rathi et al.,
2015).
One important medicinal plant, Cymbopogon schoenanthus,
locally known as Sakhbar, Izkhir or Athkhar traditionally
named as camel grass, is a desert species that grows in dry stony
places (Al-Ghamdi et al., 2007; Farooqi, 1998). It was men-
tioned in Alhadith for its potential applications (Marwat
et al., 2009). Its oil has a strong aromatic odor and has great
medicinal value. The plant is well known traditionally and is
widely used as: antispasmodic, a protection against fever,
anti-intestinal ailment problems, anti-malarial, and anti-
helminthic (especially against Guinea worms) (Yente
´ma et al.,
2007; Marwat et al., 2009). It is an effective renal antispasmodic
and diuretic agent (El-Askary et al., 2003; Elhardallou, 2011;
Sabry et al., 2014), and it was shown to possess sedative, diges-
tive and anti-parasitic properties (Sousa et al., 2005). Norbert
et al. (2014) demonstrated that it is an antifungal and anti-
inflammatory agent used for the prevention and treatment of
acute inflammatory skin conditions. The vapor phase is more
effective as an antifungal agent as compared to the liquid phase
and may be used for the decontamination of air in hospitals. It
has also been used as an anti-abortive, anti-convulsive or laxa-
tive agent, aroma and anti-rheumatic, asthmatic, and antipyre-
tic agent (Ketoh et al., 2006). Furthermore, C. schoenanthus is
used in the treatment of colds, epilepsy, abdominal cramps and
pains, as well as in culinary and perfume products (Takaisi-
Kikuni et al., 2000). In Saudi traditional medicine, it is mainly
used as a diuretic to inhibit kidney stone formation and as an
anti-infectious agent in urinary tract infections (Al-Ghamdi
et al., 2007).
The aim of this study is to evaluate the antimicrobial activ-
ity of the essential oil of C. schoenanthus against susceptible
and resistant pathogenic bacteria in order to validate some
of its traditionally claimed therapeutic properties.
2. Materials and methods
2.1. Plant collection and extraction
C. schoenanthus was collected from Asfan area, north-east of
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The plants were washed, dried in the
shade, crushed into small pieces, then were subjected to distil-
lation using conventional methods. Water was added to com-
pletely cover clean dried crushed plants that had been
compressed into a boiling chamber. The mixture was then
allowed to simmer and gently brought to boil. Ice cold water
was continuously circulated to the condenser to facilitate the
condensation process of the generated steam. The process
lasted for 48 h. The concentration of the stock solution was
determined by dividing the weight of the plant parts used over
the volume of the resulting distill. Stock solutions were sus-
pended in Tween 80 to preserve the activity of the oil, divided
into small aliquots and stored at 80 °C till the day of the
experiment. One aliquot was thawed on ice and used on the
day of the experiment and was discarded soon after the com-
pletion of the experiment. Tween 80 was added to the control
at the same concentration as that in the stock containing the
extract to rule out the effect of Tween 80 (Lahlou, 2004).
2.2. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing
The antimicrobial activity of C. schoenanthus essential oil was
evaluated using three tests: (i) Agar well-diffusion test, (ii)
Broth microdilution test, and (iii) time-kill assay test.
2.2.1. Agar well-diffusion test
2.2.1.1. Preparing the agar plates. Mueller–Hinton agar was
used (Oxoid Limited Wade Road Basingstoke Hants, England),
and prepared according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Post
autoclaving, the agar was allowed to cool down (45–50 °C) in a
water bath. Then, the agar was dispensed into Petri dishes,
stored in the refrigerator and used within five days.
2.2.1.2. Bacterial cultures. Ten bacterial pathogens were
used and purchased from the American Type Culture
Collection, ATCC, Virginia, USA. The pathogens included
2 G.M. Hashim et al.
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Gram-positive bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin sen-
sitive (MSSA) (ATCC 6538), methicillin resistant S. aureus
(MRSA) (ATCC 33591), Staphylococcus saprophyticus (ATCC
35552), Enterococcus faecalis (VRE) (ATCC 51299) and Ente-
rococcus faecium (ATCC 6569) and Gram-negative bacteria:
Escherichia coli (ATCC 11229), Klebsiella pneumoniae (ATCC
4352), Proteus mirabilis (ATCC 7002), Pseudomonas aerugi-
nosa (ATCC 15442) and Serratia marcescens (ATCC 14756),
2.2.1.3. Inoculum preparation. The inoculums were prepared
using the direct colony suspension method according to CLSI
guidelines. Colonies were fished from a fresh (18–24 h) Tryptic
Soy Agar (TSA) (Oxoid Limited, Wade Road Basingstoke
Hants, England) plate and inoculated in Tryptic Soy Broth
(TSB) (Oxoid Limited, Wade Road Basingstoke Hants, Eng-
land). The suspensions were mixed by vortexing then the tur-
bidity was adjusted with sterile Tryptic Soy Broth (TSB) to
reach a 0.5 McFarland.
2.2.1.4. Inoculation of agar plates. Within 15 min of adjusting
turbidity, for each bacterial suspension, a 0.1 ml of bacterial
suspension was dispensed and evenly spread over plates con-
taining Mueller–Hinton agar using a glass spreader. The plates
were allowed to stand for no longer than 15 min before drilling
wells in them using a sterile 8 mm cork borer. Then, 0.1 ml of
the essential oil was added into each well. The plates were cov-
ered immediately and incubated. A 5 lg/ml oxacillin antibiotic
disk (BD biosciences, USA) was also placed on the surface as a
reference. The plates were then incubated at 36 ± 1 °C for
approximately 18 h in an ambient-air incubator. The zones
of inhibition were measured.
2.2.2. Broth microdilution method for MIC test
The MIC test was performed according to the CLSI guidelines
(CLSI, 2013), with some modifications. The inoculum was pre-
pared using the direct colony suspension method as indicated
earlier. Two milliliters of the prepared bacterial suspension were
added to 40 ml of Broth to reach a dilution of 1:20 and a final
concentration of approximately 5 10
5
CFU/ml. Within one
hour of preparing the bacterial suspension, and after gently
mixing by inverting five to six times, the microtiter plate was
inoculated. Serial 1:2 dilutions of the oil were performed in
the microtiter wells with Mueller–Hinton Broth and subse-
quently inoculated with the appropriate bacteria. The last well
in each row was left blank as negative controls. The test was per-
formed in triplicates. The microtiter plate was covered then
incubated at 36 ± 1 °C for 24 h in an ambient-air incubator.
2.2.3. Time-kill assay test
To study the kinetics of inactivation of bacteria by the extract,
the time-kill assay was done according to the CLSI guidelines,
with some specific modifications. The inoculum was prepared
using the direct colony suspension method according to the
CLSI guidelines. Several colonies of similar morphology were
fished from a fresh (18–24 h) TSA plate and inoculated in TSB.
The suspensions were mixed by vortexing, then turbidity was
adjusted visually with sterile TSB to reach that of a 0.5
McFarland standard. 0.1 ml of the standardized suspension
was transferred to 5 ml of the Broth. In performing the assay,
1 ml of a dilution of the oil, (concentrations determined by
MIC test), S. aureus and K. pneumoniae were treated for
specified periods of time (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 24 h) at room
temperature. Phosphate buffered solution was used instead of
oil in the case of controls. The activity of the oil was immedi-
ately stopped at specified sampling intervals (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12
and 24 h) by placing 0.1 ml of the test solution into 0.9 ml of
Broth. Colonies of surviving microorganisms were counted
using the plate count method and the number of bacteria
was estimated.
2.3. Determination of the active ingredients
To determine the major constituents of the essential oil, elec-
tron impact mass spectra were determined at 70 eV on a GC
5890 HP instrument. Samples of 1 lL were analyzed by capil-
lary gas chromatography [Hewlett–Packard 5890 Gas chro-
matograph (GC); Palo Alto, CA, USA] equipped with a mass
detector and a 30 m 0.25 mm HP-5 column with 0.25 lm film
thickness. Temperatures were kept at 220 and 300 °C, respec-
tively. Helium was used as the carrier gas; the flow rate through
the column was 1 ml/min. Subsequently, the essential oil of C.
schoenanthus was analyzed chemically by GC/MS.
3. Results
3.1. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing of C. schoenanthus
3.1.1. Agar well-diffusion test
In vitro antimicrobial activity of the essential oil of C.
schoenanthus plant was tested against 10 bacterial pathogens
using the agar well-diffusion method. Antimicrobial activity
was recorded as the clear zone of inhibition (in millimeters)
surrounding the agar well. The means of the zones of inhibi-
tion are shown in Table 1. Inhibitory effect was detected on
five pathogens, including three Gram-positive (S. aureus,
MSSA, S. aureus, MRSA) and two Gram-negative bacteria
E. coli and K. pneumonia).The zones of inhibition (in mm)
were as follows: the lowest inhibition was noted in the case
of S. saprophyticus (10 ± 0.19), for S. aureus (MSSA) (12.5
± 0.6) and MRSA (11 ± 0.4). In the case of the two Gram
negative bacteria, the zone of inhibition was as such: E. coli
(15 ± 0.2), K. pneumonia (14 ± 0.16), no antimicrobial activ-
ity was observed against P. mirabilis,P.aeruginosa,S. marces-
cens,E. faecium and E. faecalis.
3.2. Broth microdilution MIC test
The MIC of C. schoenanthus was carried out on the five bacte-
rial pathogens that showed positive results using the agar well-
diffusion test. Maximum growth of bacteria was achieved at
24 h for the Broth microdilution test. The oil was found effec-
tive against E. coli (MIC: 9.37 lg/ml), S. aureus (MSSA)
(MIC: 4.69 lg/ml), S. aureus (MRSA) (MIC: 2.34 lg/ml) and
K. pneumoniae (MIC: 2.34 lg/ml). The MIC was too high to
be detected for S. saprophyticus at 150 lg/ml) (Table 2).
3.3. Time-kill assay
There was a time dependant decline with respect to time in the
case of S. aureus, with a 90% reduction reached within 8 h of
exposure (Fig. 1). However, K. pneumonia, was a lot more
Biological activity of Cymbopogon schoenanthus essential oil 3
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sensitive with an inhibition of 99.95% achieved within the first
two hours of contact (Fig. 2).
3.4. Chemical composition of C. schoenanthus essential oil
The solutions of C. schoenanthus were analyzed by GC/MS.
The chromatographic profile of the major constituents
obtained is shown in Table 3. The eight major components
that identified were: piperitone (14.6%), cyclohexanemethanol
(11.6%), beta-elemene (11.6%), alpha-eudesmol (11.5%), ele-
mol (10.8%), beta-eudesmol (8.5%), 2-naphthalenemethanol
(7.1%) and gamma-eudesmol (4.2%).
4. Discussion
The data obtained demonstrated that the essential oil of C.
schoenanthus exhibited antibacterial activity against five of
the ten tested bacterial pathogens. Published work by El-
Kamali et al. (2005), using the well-diffusion method, indicated
that essential oil of C. nervatus had antibacterial activity on all
bacteria tested (S. aureus,Bacillus subtilis,E. coli,P. aerugi-
nosa,Salmonella paratyphi A, Salmonella paratyphi B, Shigella
dysenteriae,Shigella flexneri,Shigella boydii,P. mirabilis and
K. pneumoniae), except for Salmonella typhi. The maximum
inhibitory effect was against S. dysenteriae and K. pneumonia.
Table 2 Determination of minimum inhibitory concentration of Cymbopogon schoenanthus extract.
Escherichia coli Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) S. aureus (MSSA) Klebsiella pneumoniae S. saprophyticus
9.37 lg/ml 4.69 lg/ml 2.3 lg/ml 2.3 lg/ml >150 lg/ml
Abbreviation: MIC, minimum inhibitory concentration; MSSA, methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus.
Table 1 Antibacterial activity of Cymbopogon schoenanthus essential oil by measuring zones of growth inhibition (mm) using agar
well-diffusion assay.
a
Test Microorganism Zone of Inhibition (mm)
b
Essential oil Oxacillin 5 lg/ml
Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538 12.5 ± 0.6 28 ± 0.14
S. aureus ATCC 33591 (MRSA) 11 ± 0.14 0
S. saprophyticus ATCC 35552 10 ± 0.19 12 ± 0.17
Escherichia coli ATCC 11229 15 ± 0.2 0
Klebsiella pneumoniae ATCC 4352 14 ± 0.16 0
Proteus mirabilis ATCC 7002 0 0
Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 15442 0 0
Serratia marcescens ATCC 14756 0 0
Enterococcus faecium ATCC 6569 0 0
E. faecalis ATCC 51299 (VRE) 0 0
a
Oxacillin 5 lg/ml was used as a reference.
b
Each value represents the mean and standard deviation of three separate experiments.
0%
50%
100%
024681012141618202224
% Survival
Time (Hrs)
Figure 1 Effect of Cymbopogon schoenanthus oil on the survival of Staphylococcus aureus in relation to time.
4 G.M. Hashim et al.
Please cite this article in press as: Hashim, G.M. et al., Biological activity of Cymbopogon schoenanthus essential oil. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences (2016),
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In addition, ethanol and chloroform extracts of C. schoenan-
thus collected from Salboukh, north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
were noted to have antibacterial activity against S. aureus.
The MICs of both extracts for S. aureus were higher than what
has been reported by us (Al Yahya et al., 1983; Lahlou, 2004).
This discrepancy might be due to the method of extraction of
essential oils. It is not unusual to notice significant differences
in data for the same plant species. These variations might be
due to many factors, including the method of extraction of
essential oils, climatic, seasonal and geographical conditions,
and harvest time. For this reason, it is important to standard-
ize the methods of extraction and specify all the conditions
that may affect the extraction.
Although it is commonly known that Gram-negative bacte-
ria are slightly more sensitive to essential oils than Gram-
positive ones (Chatterjee et al., 2011; Johnson et al., 2011;
Ravikumar et al., 2012; Moussa et al., 2012), this is not always
true. For instance, in a study by Deans and Ritchie (1987), fifty
commercially available essential oils were tested against 25
genera, and no difference in sensitivity was found between
Gram-negative and Gram-positive microorganisms. More-
over, E. coli was more susceptible to tea tree oil and other oils
than S. aureus (Gustafson et al., 1998). Our study showed that
K. pneumoniae, a Gram-negative bacterium, was the most sus-
ceptible microorganism. However, other Gram negative bacte-
ria did not follow the same pattern. Takaisi-Kikuni and
colleagues (2000) previously studied the effect of various
amounts of the essential oil of C. densiflorus on the metabolic
activity, growth and morphology of S. aureus. They concluded
that relatively high concentrations of the oil impaired staphy-
lococcal growth in a bacteriostatic manner, and in low doses,
metabolism became ineffective due to energy losses in the form
of heat (Reichling et al., 2009).
McLaughlin et al. (1998) suggested that any study on plant
extracts and/or essential oils should include toxicity tests, as
bioactive compounds are almost always toxic in high doses.
Their results indicated that eight identified components of
the oil accounted for 79.9% of the essential oil composition.
These compounds belonged to two main classes: monoterpenes
and sesquiterpenes. However, the proportion of sesquiterpenes
(46.6%) was higher than that of the monoterpenes (14.6%). In
a comprehensive review, Heiba and Rizk (1986) studied the
essential oils of a number of Cymbopogon species and their
components. They reported the presence of citronellol, far-
nesol, geraniol and sesquiterpene alcohols. Shahi and Tava
(1993) studied the chemical composition of several essential
oils and found that the main constituent of C. schoenanthus
was piperitone (64.71%). Yente
´ma et al. (2007) tested the
chemical composition of essential oil of C. schoenanthus in
Burkina Faso and identified sixteen major compounds, which
accounted for 65.2% of the whole oil composition. The per-
centage of monoterpenes (53.2%) was higher than that of
sesquiterpenes (12%), and the major compounds were piperi-
tone (42%), d-2-carene (8.2%) and elemol (6.2%). The results
of this study are in agreement with those of previous research
in that the major ingredient was piperitone, although in a
much lower concentration (14.6%). In 2005, a chemical study
performed by Sousa and colleagues, 2005 revealed that the
main components of the oil of C. schoenanthus were cis-para-
menth-2-en-1-ol, trans-para-menth-2-en-1-ol and elemol when
CO
2
was used as solvent and cis-piperitol, trans-piperitol and
elemol when ethanol was used as solvent (Sousa et al., 2005).
It is not always true that the most abundant active ingredient
is responsible for the activity of the essential oil. In a study on
the anti-fungal activity of a plant extract where piperitone
(24.74%) constituted the highest ingredient present, which is
similar to our findings, and was tested alone and as a part of
the whole extract. The results indicated that activity of the
oil of Tagetes patula L. was not a result of the major con-
stituents; rather, it was the result of the synergistic effect of
all compounds present in the oil (Romagnoli et al., 2005).
0%
50%
100%
024681012141618202224
% Survival
Time (Hrs)
Figure 2 Effect of C. schoenanthus oil on the survival of Klebsiella pneumoniae in relation to time.
Table 3 Composition of the Cymbopogon schoenanthus oil.
Compound Percent
Piperitone 14.6
Cyclohexanemethanol 11.6
b-Elemene 11.6
a-Eudesmol 11.5
Elemol 10.8
b-Eudesmol 8.5
2-Naphthalenemethanol 7.1
c-Eudesmol 4.2
Biological activity of Cymbopogon schoenanthus essential oil 5
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However, this synergism was not the case in a different study
by El-Saeid et al. (2011), the main inhibitory effect resulted
from piperitone against four phytopathogenic fungi.
The antimicrobial action of essential oils against Gram-
positive bacteria is likely due to the destruction of the cell walls
and cytoplasmic membrane of bacteria, resulting in leakage of
the microorganism’s cytoplasmic contents and subsequently its
inactivation. In other Gram-positive bacteria sensitive to imi-
dazole and whose cell membranes are rich in unsaturated fatty
acids, the rearrangement of the microorganism’s membrane
components results in the loss of cell viability and eventually
lysis (Kalemba and Kunicka, 2003). The authors concluded
that the underlying mechanism of action of essential oils is
caused by the inhibition of the synthesis of DNA, RNA, pro-
teins and polysaccharides in both fungal and bacterial cells
(Kalemba and Kunicka, 2003).
5. Conclusion
The essential oil of C. schoenanthus has an antibacterial effect
against S. aureus, MSSA, S. saprophyticus,E. coli and K. pneu-
moniae, as indicated by its minimum inhibitory concentration.
The results of the present study provide a scientific validation
for the traditional use of the medicinal plant C. schoenanthus.
Future studies should be conducted to assess the effect of the
C. schoenanthus as a possible natural agent to enhance the effi-
cacy of already existing antibiotic agents and to evaluate its
application in various fields of medicine. Further, the mecha-
nism of action by which the oil exerts an antibacterial effect
has to be elucidated in order to determine more of its potential
as an antibacterial agent.
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Biological activity of Cymbopogon schoenanthus essential oil 7
Please cite this article in press as: Hashim, G.M. et al., Biological activity of Cymbopogon schoenanthus essential oil. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences (2016),
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2016.06.001
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