Background: Outbreaks of foodborne diseases cause substantial economic losses. Universities,
research institutes and the food industry are increasing their efforts to enhance food safety worldwide.
In this context, the study of essential oils as natural antimicrobials and antioxidants for use in
foods has become increasingly important.
Methods: The volatile composition and antioxidant and antibacterial activity of Pelargonium graveolens,
Cymbopogon citratus, Citrus bergamia, Rosmarinus officinalis and Mentha piperita essential oils
Results: The essential oils showed 80.5 to 95.0% of monoterpenes, but with different profiles. The free
radical scavenging activity by the DPPH assay ranged from 3.53 to 68.55% and the total antioxidant
potential measured by FRAP ranged from 1.28 to 94.61 mmol TE g-1. The antioxidant activity (FRAP
and DPPH assays) of the essential oils followed the order: C. citratus > M. piperita > P. graveolens > C.
bergamia > R. officinalis. In general, when the pH tended to neutrality a higher concentration of essential
oil was needed to inactivate the microorganisms. The C. citratus oil presented interesting results
regarding the inhibition of both strains of S. aureus, showing a lower MIC50 value and minimum bactericidal
concentration (MBC) in the concentrations evaluated for E. coli and S. enterica.
Conclusion: The results suggest that C. citratus essential oil has potential as an antibacterial and antioxidant