Evaluation of the preservative properties of Thymus vulgaris essential oil in topically applied formulations under a challenge test


Irene Manou Laboratorium voor Algemene en Biologische Scheikunde, LK, Lokaal 6 G 304, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium (e-mail: imanou@vub.ac.be).


The preservative properties of thyme essential oil (3%) with a known composition were evaluated in two types of final formulations, suitable for use as pharmaceutical or cosmetic vehicles, by means of a standard challenge test proposed by the latest European Pharmacopoeia. The required preservation efficacy criteria were satisfied against the bacterial strains, against the yeast in one of the formulations, but not against the mould strain involved in this study. Interactions between the essential oil compounds and other factors present in the final formulation might have influenced the activity of this essential oil, leading to an incomplete satisfaction of the criteria.