Composition, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of seven essential oils from the North American boreal forest

  • Bouddah Poaty
  • Jasmina Lahlah
  • Félicia Porqueres
  • Hassine Bouafif
Original Paper


Essential oils (EOs) were steam-extracted from the needles and twigs of balsam fir, black spruce, white spruce, tamarack, jack pine and eastern white cedar that remained after logging in eastern Canada. These EOs, similarly to that from Labrador tea and other commercial EOs from Chinese cinnamon, clove and lemon eucalyptus, exhibited many common constituent compounds (mainly α-pinene, β-pinene, limonene and bornyl acetate) making up 91 % of each oil based on gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis. All of these oils exhibited antibacterial properties, especially when examined in closed tube assay compared to the traditional 96-well microliter format. These antimicrobial activities (minimum inhibitory concentration ≥0.2 % w/v), comparable to those of exotic EOs, were shown against common pathogenic bacteria and fungi. The antioxidant potential of the boreal samples was determined by the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging (concentration providing 50 % inhibition ≥7 mg/ml) and reducing power methods. Finally, this investigation revealed some boreal EOs to be potential antimicrobial and antioxidant agents that would notably benefit products in the personal hygiene and care industry.


Logging waste Conifer foliage Essential oils Antimicrobial Susceptibility testing Antioxidant 



The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for this work. We also thank the Cégep de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Richard Lefèbvre for help and suggestions, Tembec company (Guy St-Germain) and Lake Duparquet Research and Teaching Forest (Claude-Michel Bouchard) for help in the foliage harvesting.

Conflict of interest

No conflict of interest declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bouddah Poaty
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jasmina Lahlah
    • 1
  • Félicia Porqueres
    • 1
  • Hassine Bouafif
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre Technologique des Résidus IndustrielsCégep de l’Abitibi-TémiscamingueRouyn-NorandaCanada
  2. 2.Faculté de foresterie, de géographie et de géomatiqueUniversité LavalQuebecCanada

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