Background: The essential oil from the Acantholimon genus have been an integral part
of the traditional food additive in Middle East. Most of the plants in Acantholimon genus have not
been studied scientifically. The aim of this study is to investigate the chemical composition, antibacterial,
insecticidal and anti-oxidant activities of three Acantholimon species including Acantholimon
atropatanum, A. gilliatii and A. tragacanthium.
Method: The essential oils of the aerial parts were extracted by hydrodistillation. Chemical constitutions
were identified by gas chromatography- mass spectroscopy technique, also their toxicities
were assessed against the two important grain products pests, Oryzeaphilus mercator and Tribolium
castaneum. Antibacterial activity was assessed against the three foodborne bacteria that include Escherichia
coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus based on the disc diffusion assay.
Free-radical-scavenging property was identified based on 1, 1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl
(DPPH) radical scavenging activity.
Results: 2-hexahydrofarnesyl acetone was the main compound in A. gilliatii and A. tragacanthium,
whilst farnesyl acetone, heptacosane and germacrene D were the principal components of A.
atropatanum essential oil. These oils exhibited 40-90% mortality of O. mercator and/or T.
castaneum at a dose of 12 μl/l air after 48h of exposure, and exhibited significant free-radicalscavenging
property (RC50 = 3.7 × 10-3 - 8.3 × 10-3 mg/ml). The oils of A. tragacanthium and A.
gilliatii showed a weaker antibacterial activity compared to A. atropatanum.
Conclusion: A. atropatanum, A. gilliatii and A. tragacanthium essential oils had significant insecticidal
and anti-oxidant properties. They also showed week to moderate antibacterial activity against
P. aeruginosa and S. aureus.