Basil and eucalyptus as a source of essential oils with bioactive properties Conference Paper uri icon


  • Aromatic and medicinal plants have been used worldwide for culinary purposes aiming to modify, enhance or improve the flavour of foods. In addition, several aromatic plants are also recognized for their empiric use in folk medicine due to their beneficial health effects1. The secondary metabolites of aromatic plants could have diverse applications in industry, and several essential oils have a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status attributed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Currently, these natural matrices have been characterized by having active antioxidant components in their composition that have a direct impact on food quality and have potential benefits on human health2. In addition, studies focusing on different aromatic plants have suggested the use of their essential oils and some constituents as promising alternatives for obtaining natural preservatives. The present work reports a study on the bioactivity of essential oils obtained from two species of aromatic plants: Ocimum basilicum L. (basil) and Eucalyptus globulus Labill. (eucalyptus). The essential oil was obtained by hydrodistillation using a Clevenger apparatus and volatile compounds were analyzed by GC-MS equipped with DB-5MS fused-silica column. The antimicrobial activity was determined by broth microdilution assay against several Gram-positive and Gram-negative ATCC bacterial strains, and fungi. The bioactive potential was evaluated through several in vitro assays, namely antioxidant activity using two different assays: DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1- picrylhydrazyl) radical scavenging activity and reducing power; cytotoxic activity using three tumour cell-lines: CaCo (colorectal adenocarcinoma), MCF-7 (breast adenocarcinoma) and NCIH460 (non-small cell lung carcinoma) and a non-tumor cell line of monkey kidney (VERO), by applying the sulforhodamine B assay; anti-inflammatory activity was assessed using RAW 264.7 macrophage cells. In general, the results revealed a auspicious antimicrobial potential of the essential oils against the tested strains, as well as a very promising antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. In addition, it was also possible to verify the absence of toxicity of both extracts. Therefore, essential oils extracted from the studied plants can be appealing alternatives to the currently used synthetic additives, with potential application in the food and pharmaceutical industries for their relevant bioactive properties.

publication date

  • January 1, 2022