Study on the chemical composition, antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of essential oils obtained from leaves of Tunisian Anethum graveolens L.

Main Article Content

Marwa Khammassi
Mouna Souihi
Oumayma Kochti
Sophia Loupasaki
Ismail Amri
Bassem Jamoussi
Abdelhamid Khaldi


essential oil, Apiaceae, biological activity


Anethum graveolens L. is a very widespread aromatic and medicinal plant which is widely used as a spice for culinary preparations and has been used for several application that medicine and industry. Most of phytochemical and biological activity studies have focused on molecules produced by A. graveolens seeds and little reports were carried out particularly on essential oils (EOs) produced by leaves. Indeed, to our knowledge, no reports conducted on the essential oils produced by Tunisian A. graveolens. In the current study, EOs of A. graveolens leaves collected from two different origins were extracted by hydrodistillation. Then, EOs were identified by using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. In addition, the antimicrobial activity of EOs were evaluated against six pathogenic bacteria: Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enterica, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Micrococcus luteus and tow fungus strain: Candida albicans and Aspergilus niger. The antioxidant potential of tested EOs was evaluated by four different tests: Total antioxidant activity (TAA), DPPH, ABTS and reducing power assay (RPA). GC analysis indicated the presence of twelve compounds that the most predominant compounds were p-cymene (41.51-62.07%), followed by limonene (27-28%) and α-phellandrene (1.43-21.45%). The two oils showed differences related to their provenance. both oils have shown antioxidant potential which reflects their ability to scavenge free radicals. Likewise, very important and remarkable antimicrobial activities have been observed. All these properties make the oils obtained from the leaves of A. graveolens used for several applications, in particular a source of biological molecules with antioxidant and antimicrobial potential.

Abstract 276 | PDF Downloads 220


1. Amri I, Hanana M, Jamoussi B, Hamrouni L. Chemical composition of Thujaorientalis L. essential oils and study of their allelopathic potential on germination and seedling growth of weeds. Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection 2015; 48: 18-27. doi: 10.1080/03235408.2014.882107
2. Saoud I, Hamrouni L, Gargouri S, et al. Chemical composition, weed killer and antifungal activities of Tunisian thyme (Thymus capitatus link.) essential oils. Acta Alimentaria 2013; 42: 417-427. doi: 10.1556/aalim.42.2013.3.15
3. Metoui N, Gargouri S, Amri I, Fezzani T, Jamoussi B, Hamrouni L. Activity antifungal of the essential oils; aqueous and ethanol extracts from Citrus aurantium L.Natural Product Research 2015; 29:2238-2241. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2015.1007136
4. Bouajaj S, Abderrahmane R, Abdennaji B, et al. Essential oil composition, phytotoxic and antifungal activities of Ruta chalepensis L. leaves from High Atlas Mountains (Morocco). Natural Product Research 2014; 28:1910-1914. doi:10.1080/14786419.2014.945085.
5. Christensen LP, Kirsten B. Bioactive polyacetylenes in food plants of the Apiaceae family: occurrence, bioactivity and analysis. Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis 2006; 41: 683-693. doi: 10.1016/j.jpba.2006.01.057.
6. Khammassi M, Mighri H, Ben Mansour M, Amri I, Jamoussi B, Khaldi A. Metabolite profiling and potential antioxidant activity of sixteen fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.) populations wild-growing in Tunisia. S. Afr. J. Bot. 2022 ; 148 :407-414. doi: 10.3390/plants12132556.
7. Nguyen T, Mario A, Mahmoud AS. Accurate mass GC/LC-quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry analysis of fatty acids and triacylglycerols of spicy fruits from the Apiaceae family. Molecules 2015; 20: 21421-21432.
8. Amri I, De Martino L, Marandino A, Hamrouni L, Hanana M, Scandolera E, De Feo V, Mancini E. Chemical Composition and Biological Activities of the Essential Oil from Artemisia herba-alba Growing Wild in Tunisia. Nat Prod Commun, 2013; 8(3): 407-410.
9. Sayed-Ahmad B, Thierry T, Zeinab S, Akram H, Othmane M. The Apiaceae: Ethnomedicinal family as source for industrial uses. Industrial crops and products 2017; 109: 661-671.
10. Altameme H, Imad HH. Anethumg raveolens: Physicochemical Properties, Medicinal Uses, Antimicrobial Effects, Antioxidant Effect Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic Effects: A Review. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Quality Assurance 2017; 8 :88-91.
11. Mohammed GJ, Aseel MO, Haider MH. Antibacterial and phytochemical analysis of Piper nigrum using gas chromatography-mass Spectrum and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research 2016; 8: 977-996.
12. Singh G, Sumitra M, De Lampasona M, Cesar AN. A comparison of chemical, antioxidant and antimicrobial studies of cinnamon leaf and bark volatile oils, oleoresins and their constituents. Food and chemical toxicology 2007; 45:1650-1661.
13. Ramadan M, Nadia NA, Hatil HE, Kadry Z, Abdel Razik HF. Volatile compounds and antioxidant activity of the aromatic herb Anethumgraveolens. Journal of the Arab Society for Medical Research 2013; 8: 79.
14. Sharopov FS, Wink M, Isomiddin S, Gulmurodov SJ, Isupov HZ, Setzer WN. Composition and bioactivity of the essential oil of Anethum graveolens L. from Tajikistan. Int. J. Med. Arom. Plants 2013; 3: 125-130.
15. Dahiya P, Sharmishtha P. Phytochemical screening and antimicrobial activity of some medicinal plants against multi-drug resistant bacteria from clinical isolates. Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences 2012; 74: 443.
16. Al-Marzoqi AH, Hussein JH, Nebras MS. Antibacterial activity of the crude phenolic, alkaloid and terpenoid compounds extracts of Lactuca serriola L. on human pathogenic bacteria. Chemistry and Materials Research 2015; 7: 8-10.
17. Hameed H, Sevtap A, Arif AB, Nurşen B. Assessment of cytotoxic properties of sinapic acid in vitro. Turk. J. Pharm. Sci 2016; 13: 225-232.
18. Amri I, Mancini E, De Martino L et al. Chemical Composition and Biological Activities of Tunisian Cupressus arizonica Greene Essential Oils. Chemistry & Biodiversity 2014; 11: 150-160.
19. European Directorate for the Quality of M, Council of European pharmacopoeia, 6th edition. Strasbourg; London: Council of Europe; Stationery Office (2008).
20. Adams RP. Identification of essential oil components by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Carol Stream: Allured Publishing Corporation (2007).
21. Wiley Registry of Mass Spectral Data/NIST Spectral Data/CD Rom, 7th ed.; John Wiley & Sons: New York, NY, USA, 1998.
22. National Institute of Standards and Technology. NIST/EPA/NIH Mass Spectral Library; the NIST Mass Spectrometry Data Center: Gaithersburg, MD, USA, 2014.
23. Singh HP, Kaur S, Negi K, et al. Assessment of in vitro antioxidant activity of essential oil of Eucalyptus citriodora (lemon-scented Eucalypt; Myrtaceae) and its major constituents. LWT - J. Food Sci. Technol. 2012;48: 237-241.
24. Ud-Daula A, Demirci F, Salim KA, et al. Chemical composition, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of essential oils from leaves, aerial stems, basal stems, and rhizomes of Etlingera fimbriobracteata (K.Schum.) R.M.Sm. Ind. Crops Prod. 2016; 84:189-198.
25. Oyaizu M. Studies on Products of Browning Reaction. The Japanese Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics 1986; 44: 307-315.
26. Roby MH, Sarhan MA, Selim KA, Khalel KI. Antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of essential oil and extracts of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare L.) and chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.). Ind. Crops Prod. 2013; 44: 437-445.
27. Hamrouni L, Hanana M, Amri I, Romane A, Gargouri S, Bassem J. Allelopathic effects of essential oils of Pinus halepensis Miller: chemical composition and study of their antifungal and herbicidal activities. Arch Phytopathol Plant Protec 2014; 48:145-158. 101080/032354082014884667
28. Kummer R, Estevao-Silva CF, Bastos RL, et al. 2008. Original Research Effect of p-cymene on chemotaxis, phagocytosis and leukocyte behaviors. In Vitro 2008; 10, 100.
29. Balahbib A, El Omari N, Hachlafi NE et al. Health beneficial and pharmacological properties of p-cymene. Food and Chemical Toxicology 2021; 153: 112259. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2021.112259.
30. Said-Al Ahl HAH., Sarhan AM, Abou Dahab ADM., et al. 2015. Essential Oils of Anethumgraveolens L.: Chemical Composition and Their Antimicrobial Activities at Vegetative, Flowering and Fruiting Stages of Development. International Journal of Plant Science and Ecology2015; 1: 98-102.
31. Rana SV, Blazquez MA. Chemical composition of the essential oil of Anethum graveolens aerial parts. Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plants 2014; 17: 1219-1223.doi: 10.1080/0972060X.2014.894894
32. Osanloo M, Ghaznavi G, Abdollahi A. Surveying the chemical composition and antibacterial activity of essential oils from selected medicinal plants against human pathogens. Iranian journal of microbiology 2020; 12: 577–583. doi:10.18502/ijm.v12i6.5032
33. Kazemi M. 2015. Phenolic profile, antioxidant capacity and anti-inflammatory activity of Anethum graveolens L. essential oil, Natural Product Research 2015; 29:551-553. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2014.951934
34. Hanan Y, Aati SP, Sultan A, et al. 2022. Headspace solid-phase microextraction method for extracting volatile constituents from the different parts of Saudi Anethum graveolens L. and their antimicrobial activity. Heliyon 2022; 8: e09051. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e09051.
35. Amri I, Khammassi M, Gargouri S, et al. 2022. Tunisian pine essential oils: chemical composition, herbicidal and antifungal properties. Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plants 2022; in press. doi: 10.1080/0972060X.2022.2084347
36. Fico G, Braca A, Tomè F, Morelli I. Phenolic derivatives from Nigella Damascena seeds. Pharmaceutical Biology 2000; 38:371-373. doi: 10.1076/phbi.38.5.371.5967
37. Bourgou A, Pichette S, Marzouk B, Legault J. Bioactivities of black cumin essential oil and its main terpenes from Tunisia. S. Afr. J. Bot. 2010 ; 76 : 210-216. doi: 10.1016/j.sajb.2009.10.009.
38. Kazemi M. 2014. Phytochemical Composition, Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory and Antimicrobial Activity of Nigella sativa L. Essential oil. Journal of Essential Oil-Bearing Plants 2014; 5: 1002-1011. doi: 10.1080/0972060X.2014.914857.
39. De Oliveira TM, De Carvalho RBF, Costa IHF, et al. Evaluation of p-cymene, a natural antioxidant. Pharm. Biol. 2015; 53: 423–428. doi:10.3109/13880209.2014.923003.
40. Milos M, Makota D. Investigation of antioxidant synergisms and antagonisms among thymol, carvacrol, thymoquinone and p-cymene in a model system using the Briggs–Rauscher oscillating reaction. Food Chem. 2012; 131:296–299. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2011.08.042.
41. Sharopov FS, Wink M, Setzer WN. Radical scavenging and antioxidant activities of essential oil components – an experimental and computational investigation. Natural Product Communications 2015 ; 10(1), 1934578X1501000. doi: 10.1177/1934578x1501000135.
42. Yi F, Jin R, Sun J, Ma B, Bao X. Evaluation of mechanical-pressed essential oil from Nanfeng mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco cv. Kinokuni) as a food preservative based on antimicrobial and antioxidant activities. LWT - Food Science and Technology 2018; 95: 346-353. doi: 10.1016/j.lwt.2018.05.011.
43. Santos BC, Pires AS, Yamamoto CH, et al. Methyl Chavicol and Its Synthetic Analogue as Possible Antioxidant and Antilipase Agents Based on the In Vitro and In Silico Assays. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2018; 11:2189348. doi: 10.1155/2018/2189348.
44. Wojtunik KA, CieslaLM, Waksmundzka-Hajnos M. Model Studies on the Antioxidant Activity of Common Terpenoid Constituents of Essential Oils by Means of the 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl Method. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2014; 62: 9088-9094. doi: 10.1021/jf502857s.
45. Moghaddam M, Pirbalouti AG, Mehdizadeh L, Pirmoradi MR. Changes in composition and essential oil yield of Ocimum ciliatum at different phenological stages. European Food Research Technology. 2015; 240: 199–204. doi:10.1007/s00217-014- 2320-y.
46. Lu Y, Yeap FL. Antioxidant activities of polyphenols from sage (Salvia officinalis). Food Chemistry. 2001; 75:197–202. doi: 10.1016/S0308-8146(01)00198-4.
47. Gan J, Ying F, Zhao H, Xian L, Hong Z. Correlations between Antioxidant Activity and Alkaloids and Phenols of Maca (Lepidium meyenii) Journal of Food Quality. 2017; 10. doi: 10.1155/2017/3185945
48. Nostro A, Germano MP, D’Angelo V, Marino A, Cannatelli MA. Extraction methods and bioautography for evaluation of medicinal plant antimicrobial activity. Letters in Applied Microbiology.2000; 30: 379–384. doi: 10.1046/j.1472-765x.2000. 00731.
49. Sarwar A, Latif Z. GC–MS characterization and antibacterial activity evaluation of Nigella sativa oil against diverse strains of Salmonella. Natural Product Research 2014; 29: 447-451. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2014.947493.
50. Rath CC, Priyadarshanee M. Evaluation of in-vitro antibacterial activity of selected essential oils. Journal of Essential oil bearing plants 2017; 20: 359-367. doi: 10.1080/0972060x.2017.1326321
51. Harzallah HJ, Kouidhi B, Flamini G, Bakhrouf A, Mahjoub T. Chemical composition, antimicrobial potential against cariogenic bacteria and cytotoxic activity of Tunisian Nigella sativa essential oil and thymoquinone. Food chemistry 2011; 129: 1469-1474. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2011.05.11
52. Weisany W, Sohrabi Y, Siosemardeh A, Ghassemi-Golezani K. Funneliformismosseae fungi changed essential oil composition in Trigonella foenum graecum L., Coriandrum sativum L. and Nigella sativa L. Journal of Essential Oil Research 2016; 29: 276-287. doi: 10.1080/10412905.2016.1216469
53. Carson CF, Riley TV. Antimicrobial activity of the major components of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia. J. Appl. Bacteriol 1995; 78: 264-269. doi: 10.1016/s0965-2299(97)80049-0
54. Delgado B, Palop A, Fernandez PS, Periago PM. Effect of thymol and cymene to establish safe conditions related to Bacillus cereus vegetative cells through the use of frequency distributions. Food Microbiol 2004; 21: 327–334. doi: 10.1016/S0740-0020(03)00075-3.
55. Miladi H, Zmantar T, Kouidhi B, et al. Synergistic effect of eugenol, carvacrol, thymol, p-cymene and γ-terpinene on inhibition of drug resistance and biofilm formation of oral bacteria. Microb. Pathog 2017; 112: 156-163. doi: 10.1016/j.micpath.2017.09.057.
56. Aznar A, Fernandez PS, Periago PM, Palop A. Antimicrobial activity of nisin, thymol, carvacrol and cymene against growth of Candida lusitaniae. Food Sci. Technol. Int 2015; 21:72–79. doi: 10.1177/1082013213514593.
57. Souza EL, Stamford TLM, Lima EO, Trajano VN. Effectiveness of Origanum vulgare L. essential oil to inhibit the growth of food spoiling yeasts. Food Contr 2007; 18:409-413. doi: 10.1016/j.foodcont.2005.11.008.
58. Chee HY, Kim H, Lee MH. In vitro Antifungal Activity of Limonene against Trichophyton rubrum. Mycobiology 2009; 37: 243. doi: 10.4489/myco.2009.37.3.243.
59. Połeć K, Barnaś B, Kowalska M, et al. The influence of the essential oil extracted from hops on monolayers and bilayers imitating plant pathogen bacteria membranes. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 2018. doi: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2018.10.04.
60. Sikkema J, de Bont JA, Poolman B. Interactions of cyclic hydrocarbons with biological membranes. Journal of Biological Chemistry 1994; 269: 8022-8028. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9258(17)37154-5.
61. Bajpai VK, Sharma A, Baek KH. Antibacterial mode of action of Cudraniatricuspidata fruit essential oil, affecting membrane permeability and surface characteristics of food-borne pathogens. Food Control 2013; 32: 582-590. doi: 10.1016/j.foodcont.2013.01.032.
62. De Souza MW, De Souza SR, Campos FS, et al. Antibacterial activity of Siparuna guianensis essential oil mediated by impairment of membrane permeability and replication of pathogenic bacteria. Industrial Crops and Products 2020; 146:112-142. doi: 10.1016/j.indcrop.2020.112142

Most read articles by the same author(s)