Inhibitory effect of oregano and thyme essential oils on moulds and foodborne bacteria



The essential oil of oregano (‘origanum oil’; thymol type oil from Origanum vulgare) inhibited completely the mycelial growth of Aspergillus niger and A. flaous at 400 μg/ml, while A. ochraceus was inhibited at 600 μg/ml. At 700 μg/ml, thyme oil inhibited the mycelial growth of A. flavus and A. niger but not that of A. ochraceus. Fungal spore germination was inhibited by 600 μg/ml of origanum oil and (with the exception of A. ochraceus) by 700 μg/ml of thyme oil. Under aerobic conditions, the essential oils of oregano (250 μg/ml) and thyme (350 μg/ml) inhibited to some extent the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella typhimurium. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was not affected by either oregano or thyme oil at concentrations up to 500 μg/ml. The origanum oil was very effective against Campylohacter jejuni and Clostridiurn sporogenes and thyme oil was very effective against C. jejuni. The antagonistic effect of the two oils on Staph. aureus and Salm. typhimuriutn was greatly enhanced when those organisms were incubated in atmospheres of low oxygen tensions