Antibacterial Effect of Carvacrol and Coconut Oil on Selected Pathogenic Bacteria

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Essential oils play a prominent role as flavouring agents and fragrances in the food and perfume industries. Carvacrol is a major component of various essential oils, such as oregano and thyme oils, and is responsible for their antimicrobial activity. Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) with a high antibacterial potential. Both carvacrol and MCFAs have been used empirically as antimicrobial agents. Here, we tested the inhibitory properties of carvacrol and coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) oil containing a high percentage of MCFAs against 5 harmful bacterial pathogens: Escherichia coli, Salmonella Enteritidis, Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, and Enterococcus cecorum. Gas chromatography (GC-FID) analysis of coconut oil showed a high concentration of lauric acid (41%). Microdilution antimicrobial assays showed that the combination of carvacrol and coconut oil had a stronger antibacterial effect against all tested bacteria than both agents separately. We conclude that carvacrol could significantly improve the antibacterial effect of coconut oil.

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