Correlation between chemical composition and antibacterial activity of essential oils of some aromatic medicinal plants growing in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The chemical composition of essential oils from 15 aromatic medicinal plant species growing in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been studied. More than 15 constituents in an amount higher than 0.1% were identified in each essential oil. 1,8-cineole, α and β-pinene, p-cymene, myrcene, γ-terpinene, α-terpineol and limonene were prevalent constituents in almost more than 10 selected plant species. Results from the antibacterial testing by the diffusion method indicate that all essential oils (5 μl per disc) inhibited the growth of selected bacteria at different extents. The most active antibacterial essential oils were those of the leaves of Eucalyptus camadulensis and Eucalyptus terticornis (12–30 mm zone diameter of inhibition). They showed particularly a most potent inhibition of Pseudomonas aeruginosa growth (15–16 mm), followed by Eucalyptus robusta (12 mm). Essential oils from the leaves of Eucalyptus alba, Eucalyptus citriodora, Eucalyptus deglupta, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus saligna, Eucalyptus robusta, Aframomum stipulatum, Cymbopogon citratus, Ocimum americanum and that of the seeds of Monodora myristica showed also a good antibacterial activity (10–18 mm). Eucalyptus propinqua, Eucalyptus urophylla and Ocimum gratissimum essential oils were the less active samples against the selected bacteria. No correlation between the amount of major constituents such as 1,8-cineol, α-pinene, p-cymene, cryptone or thymol and the antibacterial activity was observed.