Essential oils from tropical medicinal herbs and food plants inhibit biofilm formation in vitro and are non-cytotoxic to human cells


The biofilm inhibition and eradication potential of essential oils (EOs) extracted from six tropical medicinal herbs and food plants [Psiadia arguta (PA), Psiadia terebinthina (PT), Citrus grandis (CGp), Citrus hystrix (CH), Citrus reticulata (CR), and Cinnamomum zeylanicum (CZ)] were assessed. The mechanism of inhibition was studied via quenching of efflux pump. Cytotoxicity was evaluated using Artemia salina assay and cell lines [human cervix carcinoma (HeLa), human lung fibroblast (MRC-5), and murine melanoma (B16F10)]. EOs of CH, CR, PA, and PT were found to be prospective antibiofilm agents (IC50 of 0.29, 0.59, 0.22, and 0.11 mg/mL against Staphylococcus epidermidis; 0.39, 0.54, 0.09, and 0.13 mg/mL against Escherichia coli; and 0.54, 0.90, 0.44 and 0.51 mg/mL against Candida albicans for CH, CR, PA, and PT, respectively). The simultaneous actions of the EOs and efflux pump inhibitor impacted on the resistance of the biofilms. LC50 of the EOs ranged from 223 to 583 µg/mL against A. salina. The non-cytotoxic concentration of the EOs varied from 200 to 300 µg/mL (HeLa and MRC-5), and 150–200 µg/mL (B16F10). EOs from these tropical medicinal herbs and food plants are useful sources of new antimicrobials with low cytotoxicity which could open new horizons in the drug development process.

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Correspondence to Mohamad Fawzi Mahomoodally.

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Aumeeruddy-Elalfi, Z., Ismaël, I.S., Hosenally, M. et al. Essential oils from tropical medicinal herbs and food plants inhibit biofilm formation in vitro and are non-cytotoxic to human cells. 3 Biotech 8, 395 (2018).

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  • Antibacterial activity
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Herbal medicine
  • Essential oils
  • Medicinal plants
  • Traditional medicine
  • Efflux pump inhibitor