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Special Issue "Biomolecules from Essential Oil Bearing Plants: Biological and Industrial Applications"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Natural Products Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 22431

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Marcello Iriti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical, Surgical and Dental Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: essential oils; bioactive phytochemicals; ethnopharmacology; antimicrobial resistance; one health; food security
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Md. Moshfekus Saleh-E-In
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Division of Forest Resources, College of Forest and Environmental Sciences, Kangwon National University, Chunchon 200-701, Korea
Interests: essential oils; extraction; isolation; structure elucidation; identification and quantification of secondary metabolites by GC/MS, LC/MS/MS, HPLC and NMR techniques; biological activities; in silico prediction
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The biomolecules of medicinal and aromatic plants include essential oils and non-essential oil constituents. Essential oils are a complex natural mixture of terpenoids, phenylpropenes, allyl and isoallyl phenols, phenolic acids, related esters, as well as minor amounts of coumarins, anthraquinones, and alkaloids. Nearly 400 plant species have been identified as commercially important for essential oils. Though these plants are the major source of essential oils, they also contain a pool of bioactive compounds as well as plant products which have served humans for innumerable therapeutic applications. Biomolecules from these plants can be extracted through hydrodistillation, steam distillation, supercritical fluids, ultrasound, microwave-assisted, and solvent extraction methods. The essential oils and byproducts of these plants are being used in perfumery, cosmetics, aromatherapy, pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries, and as cleaning materials and scenting agents in beverages and foods. The most promising applications of essential oils are in biofuels, natural flavoring, and pesticides. There exist many studies regarding biological activities, such as antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, antiparasitic, cytotoxic, anticancer, insecticidal, and synergistic effects of the essential oils and biomolecules. A vigorous resurgence of interest has been paid by researchers on essential oil bearing plants due to their multidisciplinary industrial applications. Therefore, many industries have connected with research organizations and scientists in order to develop modern medicines to treat acute and chronic diseases, formulation of cosmetics, food processing and preservation agents, and biofuels.

This Special Issue focuses on extraction, isolation, chemical analysis, identification of essential oils and biomolecules utilizing advanced chromatographic techniques (GC-MS, LC-MS, MS/MS, QTOF), biological activities (in vivo, vitro, and silico) of extracts and compounds from essential oil bearing plants as well as assessment of their safety and quality parameters for a wider range of industrial application. Biotechnological approaches for the enhancement of essential oil production and quality are also encouraged. 

I cordially invite authors to submit their original articles as well as reviews to the Special Issue to reveal the importance of naturally occurring products from essential oil bearing plants in order to open up new opportunities in pharmaceuticals, fuels, cosmetics, and food industries for future demands.

Prof. Dr. Marcello Iriti
Dr. Md. Moshfekus Saleh-E-In
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Essential oils
  • Biomolecules
  • Chemical composition
  • Extraction and isolation
  • GC-MS, LC-MS/MS, QTOF
  • Biological activities
  • In silico
  • Biotechnology
  • Biofuels

Published Papers (20 papers)

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Research

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Article
Profiles of Essential Oils and Correlations with Phenolic Acids and Primary Metabolites in Flower Buds of Magnolia heptapeta and Magnolia denudata var. purpurascens
Molecules 2022, 27(1), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27010221 - 30 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 406
Abstract
Magnolia flower buds are a source of herbal medicines with various active compounds. In this study, differences in the distribution and abundance of major essential oils, phenolic acids, and primary metabolites between white flower buds of Magnolia heptapeta and violet flower buds of [...] Read more.
Magnolia flower buds are a source of herbal medicines with various active compounds. In this study, differences in the distribution and abundance of major essential oils, phenolic acids, and primary metabolites between white flower buds of Magnolia heptapeta and violet flower buds of Magnolia denudata var. purpurascens were characterised. A multivariate analysis revealed clear separation between the white and violet flower buds with respect to primary and secondary metabolites closely related to metabolic systems. White flower buds contained large amounts of monoterpene hydrocarbons (MH), phenolic acids, aromatic amino acids, and monosaccharides, related to the production of isoprenes, as MH precursors, and the activity of MH synthase. However, concentrations of β-myrcene, a major MH compound, were higher in violet flower buds than in white flower buds, possibly due to higher threonine levels and low acidic conditions induced by comparatively low levels of some organic acids. Moreover, levels of stress-related metabolites, such as oxygenated monoterpenes, proline, and glutamic acid, were higher in violet flower buds than in white flower buds. Our results support the feasibility of metabolic profiling for the identification of phytochemical differences and improve our understanding of the correlated biological pathways for primary and secondary metabolites. Full article
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Article
Volatile Compounds and Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activities of Selected Citrus Essential Oils Originated from Nepal
Molecules 2021, 26(21), 6683; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26216683 - 04 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1951
Abstract
Citrus species of plants are among the most commercially cultivated crops, mainly for their fruit. Besides, the generally consumed flesh inside the fruit, the peel is quite important too. Essential oils extracted from the peel have a history of being used by humankind [...] Read more.
Citrus species of plants are among the most commercially cultivated crops, mainly for their fruit. Besides, the generally consumed flesh inside the fruit, the peel is quite important too. Essential oils extracted from the peel have a history of being used by humankind for centuries. These essential oils are rich in antioxidants and antimicrobial agents. Comparative investigation of volatile constituents, and antioxidant and antimicrobial activities were undertaken. The essential oils were evaluated through gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC–MS), and enantiomeric composition by chiral GC–MS. Similarly, the antioxidant properties were evaluated by 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl scavenging assay, and antimicrobial activities were assayed using the disk diffusion method. The highest extraction yield of 1.83% was observed in Citrus sinensis Osbeck. GC–MS analysis showed limonene (63.76–89.15%), γ-terpinene (0.24–6.43%), β-pinene (0.15–6.09%), linalool (0.35–3.5%), sabinene (0.77–2.17%), myrcene (0.74–1.75%), α-terpineol (0.28–1.15%), and α-pinene (0.2–0.58%) as the major constituents of the essential oil of the Citrus species studied. For the first time, through our study, chiral terpenoids have been observed from Citrus grandis Osbeck essential oil. The order of antioxidant activity is as follows: Citrus grandis Osbeck red flesh > Citrus reticulata Blanco > Citrus sinensis Osbeck > Citrus grandis Osbeck white flesh. Except for Citrus grandis Osbeck white flesh (52.34 µL/mL), all samples demonstrated stronger antioxidant activities than those of the positive control, quercetin (5.60 µL/mL). Therefore, these essential oils can be used as a safe natural antioxidant to prevent product oxidation. Likewise, citrus peel essential oil showed antimicrobial activity against tested bacterial strains, albeit marginal. Full article
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Article
Antimicrobial Activity and Synergy Investigation of Hypericum scabrum Essential Oil with Antifungal Drugs
Molecules 2021, 26(21), 6545; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26216545 - 29 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 624
Abstract
The chemical composition of Lebanese Hypericum scabrum essential oil (EO) was analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GG-MS). Its antimicrobial activity was evaluated by determining its minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) against a Gram-negative and a Gram-positive bacterium, one yeast, and [...] Read more.
The chemical composition of Lebanese Hypericum scabrum essential oil (EO) was analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GG-MS). Its antimicrobial activity was evaluated by determining its minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) against a Gram-negative and a Gram-positive bacterium, one yeast, and five dermatophytes. H. scabrum EO was most active on filamentous fungi (MIC values of 32–64 µg/mL). Synergy within the oil was investigated by testing each of the following major components on Trichophyton rubrum: α-pinene, limonene, myrcene, β-pinene and nonane, as well as a reconstructed EO. The antifungal activity of the natural oil could not be reached, meaning that its activity might be due, in part, to minor constituent(s). The interactions between H. scabrum EO and commercially available antifungals were assessed by the checkerboard test. A synergistic effect was revealed in the combination of the EO with amphotericin B. Full article
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Article
Natural Polyphenols Inhibit the Dimerization of the SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease: The Case of Fortunellin and Its Structural Analogs
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6068; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26196068 - 07 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1084
Abstract
3CL-Pro is the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (MPro). It acts as a homodimer to cleave the large polyprotein 1ab transcript into proteins that are necessary for viral growth and replication. 3CL-Pro has been one of the most studied SARS-CoV-2 proteins and a main target [...] Read more.
3CL-Pro is the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (MPro). It acts as a homodimer to cleave the large polyprotein 1ab transcript into proteins that are necessary for viral growth and replication. 3CL-Pro has been one of the most studied SARS-CoV-2 proteins and a main target of therapeutics. A number of drug candidates have been reported, including natural products. Here, we employ elaborate computational methods to explore the dimerization of the 3CL-Pro protein, and we formulate a computational context to identify potential inhibitors of this process. We report that fortunellin (acacetin 7-O-neohesperidoside), a natural flavonoid O-glycoside, and its structural analogs are potent inhibitors of 3CL-Pro dimerization, inhibiting viral plaque formation in vitro. We thus propose a novel basis for the search of pharmaceuticals as well as dietary supplements in the fight against SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. Full article
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Article
Chemical Composition and Cytotoxic Activity of the Essential Oil and Oleoresins of In Vitro Micropropagated Ansellia africana Lindl: A Vulnerable Medicinal Orchid of Africa
Molecules 2021, 26(15), 4556; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26154556 - 28 Jul 2021
Viewed by 883
Abstract
Orchids are rich treasure troves of various important phytomolecules. Among the various medicinal orchids, Ansellia africana stands out prominently in the preparing of various herbal medicines due to its high therapeutic importance. The nodal explants of A. africana were sampled from asymbiotically germinated [...] Read more.
Orchids are rich treasure troves of various important phytomolecules. Among the various medicinal orchids, Ansellia africana stands out prominently in the preparing of various herbal medicines due to its high therapeutic importance. The nodal explants of A. africana were sampled from asymbiotically germinated seedlings on basal Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium and were micropropagated in MS medium supplemented with 3% sucrose and 10 µM meta topolin (mT) + 5 µM naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) +15 µM indole butyric acid (IBA) + 30 µM phloroglucinol (PG). In the present study, the essential oil was extracted by hydrodistillation and the oleoresins by the solvent extraction method from the micropropagated A. africana. The essential oil and the oleoresins were analysed by Gas Chromatography (GC) and GC/MS (Mass spectrometry). A total of 84 compounds were identified. The most predominant components among them were linoleic acid (18.42%), l-ascorbyl 2,6-dipalmitate (11.50%), linolenic acid (10.98%) and p-cresol (9.99%) in the essential oil; and eicosane (26.34%), n-butyl acetate (21.13%), heptadecane (16.48%) and 2-pentanone, 4-hydroxy-4-methyl (11.13%) were detected in the acetone extract; heptadecane (9.40%), heneicosane (9.45%), eicosane (6.40%), n-butyl acetate (14.34%) and styrene (22.20%) were identified and quantified in the ethyl acetate extract. The cytotoxic activity of essential oil and oleoresins of micropropagated A. africana was evaluated by MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium Bromide) assay on Vero cells compared to the standard drug doxorubicin chloride. The present research contains primary information about the therapeutic utility of the essential oil and oleoresins of A. africana with a promising future research potential of qualitative and quantitative improvement through synchronised use of biotechnological techniques. Full article
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Article
Behavioral and Antennal Responses of Tribolium confusum to Varronia globosa Essential Oil and Its Main Constituents: Perspective for Their Use as Repellent
Molecules 2021, 26(15), 4393; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26154393 - 21 Jul 2021
Viewed by 710
Abstract
Essential oils of aromatic plants represent an alternative to classical pest control with synthetic chemicals. They are especially promising for the alternative control of stored product pest insects. Here, we tested behavioral and electrophysiological responses of the stored product pest Tribolium confusum, [...] Read more.
Essential oils of aromatic plants represent an alternative to classical pest control with synthetic chemicals. They are especially promising for the alternative control of stored product pest insects. Here, we tested behavioral and electrophysiological responses of the stored product pest Tribolium confusum, to the essential oil of a Brazilian indigenous plant, Varronia globosa, collected in the Caatinga ecosystem. We analyzed the essential oil by GC-MS, tested the effects of the entire oil and its major components on the behavior of individual beetles in a four-way olfactometer, and investigated responses to these stimuli in electroantennogram recordings (EAG). We could identify 25 constituents in the essential oil of V. globosa, with anethole, caryophyllene and spathulenole as main components. The oil and its main component anethole had repellent effects already at low doses, whereas caryophyllene had only a repellent effect at a high dose. In addition, the essential oil abolished the attractive effect of the T. confusum aggregation pheromone. EAG recordings revealed dose-dependent responses to the individual components and increasing responses to the blend and even more to the entire oil. Our study reveals the potential of anethole and the essential oil of V. globosa in the management of stored product pests. Full article
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Article
Ginger Essential Oils-Loaded Nanoemulsions: Potential Strategy to Manage Bacterial Leaf Blight Disease and Enhanced Rice Yield
Molecules 2021, 26(13), 3902; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26133902 - 25 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 981
Abstract
The bacterial leaf blight (BLB) caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) is one of the most serious rice diseases, causing huge yield losses worldwide. Several technologies and approaches have been opted to reduce the damage; however, these have had limited [...] Read more.
The bacterial leaf blight (BLB) caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) is one of the most serious rice diseases, causing huge yield losses worldwide. Several technologies and approaches have been opted to reduce the damage; however, these have had limited success. Recently, scientists have been focusing their efforts on developing efficient and environmentally friendly nanobactericides for controlling bacterial diseases in rice fields. In the present study, a scanning electron microscope (SEM), transmission electron microscope (TEM), and a confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) were utilized to investigate the mode of actions of ginger EOs on the cell structure of Xoo. The ginger EOs caused the cells to grow abnormally, resulting in an irregular form with hollow layers, whereas the dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) treatment showed a typical rod shape for the Xoo cell. Ginger EOs restricted the growth and production of biofilms by reducing the number of biofilms generated as indicated by CLSM. Due to the instability, poor solubility, and durability of ginger EOs, a nanoemulsions approach was used, and a glasshouse trial was performed to assess their efficacy on BLB disease control. The in vitro antibacterial activity of the developed nanobactericides was promising at different concentration (50–125 µL/mL) tested. The efficacy was concentration-dependent. There was significant antibacterial activity recorded at higher concentrations. A glasshouse trial revealed that developed nanobactericides managed to suppress BLB disease severity effectively. Treatment at a concentration of 125 μL/mL was the best based on the suppression of disease severity index, AUDPC value, disease reduction (DR), and protection index (PI). Furthermore, findings on plant growth, physiological features, and yield parameters were significantly enhanced compared to the positive control treatment. In conclusion, the results indicated that ginger essential oils loaded-nanoemulsions are a promising alternative to synthetic antibiotics in suppressing Xoo growth, regulating the BLB disease, and enhancing rice yield under a glasshouse trial. Full article
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Article
Investigation of Antifungal Mechanisms of Thymol in the Human Fungal Pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformans
Molecules 2021, 26(11), 3476; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26113476 - 07 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1006
Abstract
Due to lifespan extension and changes in global climate, the increase in mycoses caused by primary and opportunistic fungal pathogens is now a global concern. Despite increasing attention, limited options are available for the treatment of systematic and invasive mycoses, owing to the [...] Read more.
Due to lifespan extension and changes in global climate, the increase in mycoses caused by primary and opportunistic fungal pathogens is now a global concern. Despite increasing attention, limited options are available for the treatment of systematic and invasive mycoses, owing to the evolutionary similarity between humans and fungi. Although plants produce a diversity of chemicals to protect themselves from pathogens, the molecular targets and modes of action of these plant-derived chemicals have not been well characterized. Using a reverse genetics approach, the present study revealed that thymol, a monoterpene alcohol from Thymus vulgaris L., (Lamiaceae), exhibits antifungal activity against Cryptococcus neoformans by regulating multiple signaling pathways including calcineurin, unfolded protein response, and HOG (high-osmolarity glycerol) MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) pathways. Thymol treatment reduced the intracellular concentration of Ca2+ by controlling the expression levels of calcium transporter genes in a calcineurin-dependent manner. We demonstrated that thymol decreased N-glycosylation by regulating the expression levels of genes involved in glycan-mediated post-translational modifications. Furthermore, thymol treatment reduced endogenous ergosterol content by decreasing the expression of ergosterol biosynthesis genes in a HOG MAPK pathway-dependent manner. Collectively, this study sheds light on the antifungal mechanisms of thymol against C. neoformans. Full article
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Article
Chemical Profiling, Toxicity and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Essential Oils from Three Grapefruit Cultivars from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa
Molecules 2021, 26(11), 3387; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26113387 - 03 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 928
Abstract
The medicinal potential and volatile composition of different parts of three cultivars of grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) were evaluated for their toxicity and anti-inflammatory activities. Fresh leaf and fruit peel were separately isolated by hydrodistillation for 4 h. The essential oils were [...] Read more.
The medicinal potential and volatile composition of different parts of three cultivars of grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) were evaluated for their toxicity and anti-inflammatory activities. Fresh leaf and fruit peel were separately isolated by hydrodistillation for 4 h. The essential oils were subjected to GC/GC-MS analysis for chemical profile. Toxicity of the essential oils in mice were evaluated using Lorke’s method, while an anti-inflammatory assay was performed in a rat model using egg albumin-induced oedema. The oils obtained were light yellow in colour, and odour varied from strong citrus smell to mild. Percentage yield of fresh peel oil (0.34–0.57%) was greater than the fresh leaf oil yield (0.21–0.34%). D-limonene (86.70–89.90%) was the major compound identified in the leaf oil, while β-phellandrene (90.00–91.01%) dominated the peel oil. At a dosage level of 5000 mg/kg, none of the oils showed mortality in mice. An anti-inflammatory bioassay revealed that all the oils caused a significant (p < 0.05–0.01) reduction in oedema size when compared to the negative control group throughout the 5 h post induction assessment period. The study reveals that the oils are non-toxic and demonstrate significant anti-inflammatory activity. Our findings suggest that the leaf and peel oils obtained from waste parts of grapefruit plants can be useful as flavouring agents, as well as anti-inflammatory agents. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of Aphicidal Effect of Essential Oils and Their Synergistic Effect against Myzus persicae (Sulzer) (Hemiptera: Aphididae)
Molecules 2021, 26(10), 3055; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26103055 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 961
Abstract
The insecticidal activities of essential oils obtained from black pepper, eucalyptus, rosemary, and tea tree and their binary combinations were investigated against the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Aphididae: Hemiptera), under laboratory and glasshouse conditions. All the tested essential oils significantly reduced and [...] Read more.
The insecticidal activities of essential oils obtained from black pepper, eucalyptus, rosemary, and tea tree and their binary combinations were investigated against the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Aphididae: Hemiptera), under laboratory and glasshouse conditions. All the tested essential oils significantly reduced and controlled the green peach aphid population and caused higher mortality. In this study, black pepper and tea tree pure essential oils were found to be an effective insecticide, with 80% mortality when used through contact application. However, for combinations of essential oils from black pepper + tea tree (BT) and rosemary + tea tree (RT) tested as contact treatment, the mortality was 98.33%. The essential oil combinations exhibited synergistic and additive interactions for insecticidal activities. The combination of black pepper + tea tree, eucalyptus + tea tree (ET), and tea tree + rosemary showed enhanced activity, with synergy rates of 3.24, 2.65, and 2.74, respectively. Essential oils formulation was effective on the mortality of aphids. Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis showed that stability of a mixture of essential oils was not affected by store temperature (15, 25, and 35 °C) and the functional groups were not changed during storage. Based on our results, the essential oils can be used as a commercial insecticide against M. persicae. Full article
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Article
Chemical Composition and Antibacterial and Antioxidant Activity of a Citrus Essential Oil and Its Fractions
Molecules 2021, 26(10), 2888; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26102888 - 13 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 980
Abstract
Essential oils (EOs) from Citrus are the main by-product of Citrus-processing industries. In addition to food/beverage and cosmetic applications, citrus EOs could also potentially be used as an alternative to antibiotics in food-producing animals. A commercial citrus EO—Brazilian Orange Terpenes (BOT)—was fractionated [...] Read more.
Essential oils (EOs) from Citrus are the main by-product of Citrus-processing industries. In addition to food/beverage and cosmetic applications, citrus EOs could also potentially be used as an alternative to antibiotics in food-producing animals. A commercial citrus EO—Brazilian Orange Terpenes (BOT)—was fractionated by vacuum fractional distillation to separate BOT into various fractions: F1, F2, F3, and F4. Next, the chemical composition and biological activities of BOT and its fractions were characterized. Results showed the three first fractions had a high relative amount of limonene (≥10.86), even higher than the whole BOT. Conversely, F4 presented a larger relative amount of BOT’s minor compounds (carvone, cis-carveol, trans-carveol, cis-p-Mentha-2,8-dien-1-ol, and trans-p-Mentha-2,8-dien-1-ol) and a very low relative amount of limonene (0.08–0.13). Antibacterial activity results showed F4 was the only fraction exhibiting this activity, which was selective and higher activity on a pathogenic bacterium (E. coli) than on a beneficial bacterium (Lactobacillus sp.). However, F4 activity was lower than BOT. Similarly, F4 displayed the highest antioxidant activity among fractions (equivalent to BOT). These results indicated that probably those minor compounds that detected in F4 would be more involved in conferring the biological activities for this fraction and consequently for the whole BOT, instead of the major compound, limonene, playing this role exclusively. Full article
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Article
Enhanced Biological Activity of a Novel Preparation of Lavandula angustifolia Essential Oil
Molecules 2021, 26(9), 2458; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26092458 - 23 Apr 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1133
Abstract
Lavandula angustifolia, one of the most popular medicinal plants, is the source of a bioactive essential oil characterized by a wide spectrum of biological activity, e.g., antiseptic, analgesic, and anticancer effects. In dermatology, the oil helps to relieve skin inflammation and exhibit [...] Read more.
Lavandula angustifolia, one of the most popular medicinal plants, is the source of a bioactive essential oil characterized by a wide spectrum of biological activity, e.g., antiseptic, analgesic, and anticancer effects. In dermatology, the oil helps to relieve skin inflammation and exhibit wound healing potential. However, the mechanism of action of the lavender oil depends on its composition, which in turn is dependent on the origin and growing conditions. Our study aimed to compare the composition and proregenerative properties of the commercially-available narrow-leaved lavender oil produced in Provence, France, with the oil obtained from the narrow-leaved lavender cultivated locally in Poland. GC/MS analysis showed that self-manufactured essential oil had lower linalool content than commercial oil (23.2 vs. 40.2%), comparable linalyl acetate content (40.6 vs. 44%), while the proportion of lavandulyl acetate was significantly higher (23.2 vs. 5.5%). To determine the influence of lavender oil on the production of proinflammatory cytokines and proregenerative growth factors, gene expression of the selected signaling molecules by HaCaT cells was investigated using real-time PCR. Results showed a concentration-dependent effect of lavender oils on the production of IL-6, IL-8, and VEGF by the keratinocyte cell line. Finally, the potential of the lavender oil to increase the production of VEGF, the most important angiogenic factor, with the in-house preparation performing significantly better in the in vitro cell models was identified. Full article
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Article
A Comparison of the Composition of Selected Commercial Sandalwood Oils with the International Standard
Molecules 2021, 26(8), 2249; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26082249 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 931
Abstract
Sandalwood oils are highly desired but expensive, and hence many counterfeit oils are sold in high street shops. The study aimed to determine the content of oils sold under the name sandalwood oil and then compare their chromatographic profile and α- and β [...] Read more.
Sandalwood oils are highly desired but expensive, and hence many counterfeit oils are sold in high street shops. The study aimed to determine the content of oils sold under the name sandalwood oil and then compare their chromatographic profile and α- and β santalol content with the requirements of ISO 3518:2002. Gas chromatography with mass spectrometry analysis found that none of the six tested “sandalwood” oils met the ISO standard, especially in terms of α-santalol content. Only one sample was found to contain both α- and β-santalol, characteristic of Santalum album. In three samples, valerianol, elemol, eudesmol isomers, and caryophyllene dominated, indicating the presence of Amyris balsamifera oil. Another two oil samples were found to be synthetic mixtures: benzyl benzoate predominating in one, and synthetic alcohols, such as javanol, polysantol and ebanol, in the other. The product label only gave correct information in three cases: one sample containing Santalum album oil and two samples containing Amyris balsamifera oil. The synthetic samples described as 100% natural essential oil from sandalwood are particularly dangerous and misleading to the consumer. Moreover, the toxicological properties of javanol, polysantol and ebanol, for example, are unknown. Full article
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Article
Eugenol-Functionalized Magnetite Nanoparticles Modulate Virulence and Persistence in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Clinical Strains
Molecules 2021, 26(8), 2189; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26082189 - 10 Apr 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 996
Abstract
Efficient antibiotics to cure Pseudomonas aeruginosa persistent infections are currently insufficient and alternative options are needed. A promising lead is to design therapeutics able to modulate key phenotypes in microbial virulence and thus control the progression of the infectious process without selecting resistant [...] Read more.
Efficient antibiotics to cure Pseudomonas aeruginosa persistent infections are currently insufficient and alternative options are needed. A promising lead is to design therapeutics able to modulate key phenotypes in microbial virulence and thus control the progression of the infectious process without selecting resistant mutants. In this study, we developed a nanostructured system based on Fe3O4 nanoparticles (NPs) and eugenol, a natural plant-compound which has been previously shown to interfere with microbial virulence when utilized in subinhibitory concentrations. The obtained functional NPs are crystalline, with a spherical shape and 10–15 nm in size. The subinhibitory concentrations (MIC 1/2) of the eugenol embedded magnetite NPs (Fe3O4@EUG) modulate key virulence phenotypes, such as attachment, biofilm formation, persister selection by ciprofloxacin, and the production of soluble enzymes. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the ability of functional magnetite NPs to modulate P. aeruginosa virulence and phenotypic resistance; our data highlights the potential of these bioactive nanostructures to be used as anti-pathogenic agents. Full article
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Article
Myorelaxant Effect of the Dysphania ambrosioides Essential Oil on Sus scrofa domesticus Coronary Artery and Its Toxicity in the Drosophila melanogaster Model
Molecules 2021, 26(7), 2041; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26072041 - 02 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 837
Abstract
Purpose: Alternative methods for the use of animals in research have gained increasing importance, due to assessments evaluating the real need for their use and the development of legislation that regulates the subject. The principle of the 3R’s (replacement, reduction and refinement) has [...] Read more.
Purpose: Alternative methods for the use of animals in research have gained increasing importance, due to assessments evaluating the real need for their use and the development of legislation that regulates the subject. The principle of the 3R’s (replacement, reduction and refinement) has been an important reference, such that in vitro, ex vivo and cord replacement methods have achieved a prominent place in research. Methods: Therefore, due to successful results from studies developed with these methods, the present study aimed to evaluate the myorelaxant effect of the Dysphania ambrosioides essential oil (EODa) using a Sus scrofa domesticus coronary artery model, and the toxicity of both the Dysphania ambrosioides essential oil and its major constituent, α-terpinene, against Drosophila melanogaster in toxicity and negative geotaxis assays. Results: The EODa relaxed the smooth muscle of swine coronary arteries precontracted with K+ and 5-HT in assays using Sus scrofa domesticus coronary arteries. The toxicity results presented LC50 values of 1.546 mg/mL and 2.282 mg/mL for the EODa and α-terpinene, respectively, thus showing the EODa and α-terpinene presented toxicity to these dipterans, with the EODa being more toxic. Conclusions: Moreover, the results reveal the possibility of using the EODa in vascular disease studies since it promoted the relaxation of the Sus scrofa domesticus coronary smooth muscle. Full article
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Article
Investigation of Potential Antioxidant, Thrombolytic and Neuropharmacological Activities of Homalomena aromatica Leaves Using Experimental and In Silico Approaches
Molecules 2021, 26(4), 975; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26040975 - 12 Feb 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1362
Abstract
The leaves of Homalomena aromatica are traditionally used in Bangladesh for the treatment of different chronic ailments. The purpose of this study was to explore in vitro antioxidant, thrombolytic activities, and in vivo neuropharmacological effects of methanolic extract of Homalomena aromatica (MEHA) leaves. [...] Read more.
The leaves of Homalomena aromatica are traditionally used in Bangladesh for the treatment of different chronic ailments. The purpose of this study was to explore in vitro antioxidant, thrombolytic activities, and in vivo neuropharmacological effects of methanolic extract of Homalomena aromatica (MEHA) leaves. Antioxidant activity of MEHA was assessed by a DPPH free radical scavenging assay and total phenolics content, total flavonoids content were also measured. The thrombolytic activity was determined by percentage of clot lysis and neuropharmacological activities by hole board, tail suspension, forced swimming and elevated plus maze tests. The results showed that the IC50 value of the extract against DPPH was 199.51 μg/mL. Quantitative analysis displayed higher contents of phenolics and flavonoids (147.71 mg gallic acid equivalent/g & 66.65 mg quercetin equivalent/g dried extract, respectively). The extract also showed a significant clot lysis (33.31%) activity. In case of anxiolytic activity, the elevate plus maze (EPM) test demonstrated an increase in time spent in open arms, and in case of hole board test, the number of head dipping was also significantly increased (p < 0.05). All the test compared with control (1% Tween in water) and standard (diazepam 1 mg/kg), significant dose (200 & 400 mg/kg) dependent anxiolytic activity was found. In antidepressant activity, there was a significant decrease in period of immobility in both test models (tail suspension and forced swimming) (p < 0.05). Moreover, 13 compounds were identified as bioactive, showed good binding affinities to xanthine oxidoreductase, tissue plasminogen activator receptor, potassium channel receptor, human serotonin receptor targets in molecular docking experiments. Furthermore, ADME/T analysis revealed their drug-likeness, likely pharmacological actions and non-toxic upon consumption. Taken together, our finding support the traditional medicinal use of this plant, which may provide a potential source for future drug discovery. Full article
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Review

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Review
The Essential Oil-Bearing Plants in the United Arab Emirates (UAE): An Overview
Molecules 2021, 26(21), 6486; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26216486 - 27 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 900
Abstract
Essential Oils (EOs) are expensive hydrocarbons produced exclusively by specific species in the plant kingdom. Their applications have deep roots in traditional herbal medicine, which lacks scientific evidence. Nowadays, more than ever, there is a growing global interest in research-based discoveries that maintain [...] Read more.
Essential Oils (EOs) are expensive hydrocarbons produced exclusively by specific species in the plant kingdom. Their applications have deep roots in traditional herbal medicine, which lacks scientific evidence. Nowadays, more than ever, there is a growing global interest in research-based discoveries that maintain and promote health conditions. Consequently, EOs became a much attractive topic for both research and industry, with revenues reaching billions of dollars annually. In this work, we provide key guidance to all essential oil-bearing plants growing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The comprehensive data were collected following an extensive, up-to-date literature review. The results identified 137 plant species, including indigenous and naturalized ones, in the UAE, citing over 180 published research articles. The general overview included plant botanical names, synonyms, common names (Arabic and English), families and taxonomic authority. The study acts as a baseline and accelerator for research, industry and discoveries in multiple disciplines relying on essential oil-bearing plants. Full article
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Review
Ruta Essential Oils: Composition and Bioactivities
Molecules 2021, 26(16), 4766; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26164766 - 06 Aug 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1039
Abstract
Ruta L. is a typical genus of the citrus family, Rutaceae Juss. and comprises ca. 40 different species, mainly distributed in the Mediterranean region. Ruta species have long been used in traditional medicines as an abortifacient and emmenagogue and for the treatment [...] Read more.
Ruta L. is a typical genus of the citrus family, Rutaceae Juss. and comprises ca. 40 different species, mainly distributed in the Mediterranean region. Ruta species have long been used in traditional medicines as an abortifacient and emmenagogue and for the treatment of lung diseases and microbial infections. The genus Ruta is rich in essential oils, which predominantly contain aliphatic ketones, e.g., 2-undecanone and 2-nonanone, but lack any significant amounts of terpenes. Three Ruta species, Ruta chalepensis L., Ruta graveolens L., and Ruta montana L., have been extensively studied for the composition of their essential oils and several bioactivities, revealing their potential medicinal and agrochemical applications. This review provides a systematic evaluation and critical appraisal of publications available in the literature on the composition and bioactivities of the essential oils obtained from Ruta species and includes a brief outlook of the potential applications of nanotechnology and chitosan-based products of Ruta essential oils. Full article
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Review
The Applicability of Essential Oils in Different Stages of Production of Animal-Based Foods
Molecules 2021, 26(13), 3798; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26133798 - 22 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 912
Abstract
Essential oils (EOs) have been used for centuries, and interest in these compounds has been revived in recent years. Due to their unique chemical composition as well as antimicrobial, immunostimulatory, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, EOs are used in pharmacology, cosmetology and, increasingly, in [...] Read more.
Essential oils (EOs) have been used for centuries, and interest in these compounds has been revived in recent years. Due to their unique chemical composition as well as antimicrobial, immunostimulatory, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, EOs are used in pharmacology, cosmetology and, increasingly, in animal breeding and rearing, and processing of animal raw materials. Essential oils have become a natural alternative to preservatives, taste enhancers and, most importantly, antibiotics, because the European Union banned the use of antibiotics in metaphylaxis in animal husbandry in 2006. In the animal production chain, EOs are used mainly as feed additives to improve feed palatability and increase feed intake, improve animal resistance and health status, and to prevent and treat diseases. Recent research indicates that EOs can also be applied to sanitize poultry houses, and they can be used as biopesticides in organic farming. Essential oils effectively preserve meat and milk and, consequently, improve the safety, hygiene and quality of animal-based foods. Novel technologies such as encapsulation may increase the bioavailability of EOs and their application in the production of food and feed additives. Full article
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Review
The Role of Essential Oils and Their Main Compounds in the Management of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors
Molecules 2021, 26(12), 3506; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26123506 - 09 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1569
Abstract
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a global health burden that greatly impact patient quality of life and account for a huge number of deaths worldwide. Despite current therapies, several side effects have been reported that compromise patient adherence; thus, affecting therapeutic benefits. In this [...] Read more.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a global health burden that greatly impact patient quality of life and account for a huge number of deaths worldwide. Despite current therapies, several side effects have been reported that compromise patient adherence; thus, affecting therapeutic benefits. In this context, plant metabolites, namely volatile extracts and compounds, have emerged as promising therapeutic agents. Indeed, these compounds, in addition to having beneficial bioactivities, are generally more amenable and present less side effects, allowing better patient tolerance. The present review is an updated compilation of the studies carried out in the last 20 years on the beneficial potential of essential oils, and their compounds, against major risk factors of CVDs. Overall, these metabolites show beneficial potential through a direct effect on these risk factors, namely hypertension, dyslipidemia and diabetes, or by acting on related targets, or exerting general cellular protection. In general, monoterpenic compounds are the most studied regarding hypotensive and anti-dyslipidemic/antidiabetic properties, whereas phenylpropanoids are very effective at avoiding platelet aggregation. Despite the number of studies performed, clinical trials are sparse and several aspects related to essential oil’s features, namely volatility and chemical variability, need to be considered in order to guarantee their efficacy in a clinical setting. Full article
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