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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 573518, 10 pages
Research Article

Exploring the Anti-Burkholderia cepacia Complex Activity of Essential Oils: A Preliminary Analysis

1Department of Biology, University of Florence, Via Madonna del Piano 6, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019 Florence, Italy
2Department of Health Sciences, University of Florence, Viale G. B. Morgagni 48, 50134 Florence, Italy
3Center for Integrative Medicine, Careggi University Hospital, University of Florence, 50139 Florence, Italy
4Department of Chemistry Ugo Schiff, University of Florence, Via della Lastruccia 3-13, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019 Florence, Italy
5Department of Pharmacy, University of Pisa, Via Bonanno 33, 56126 Pisa, Italy
6Laboratory of Microbial and Molecular Evolution, Department of Biology, University of Florence, Via Madonna del Piano 6, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019 Florence, Italy

Received 6 December 2013; Accepted 10 January 2014; Published 19 February 2014

Academic Editor: Gyorgyi Horvath

Copyright © 2014 Isabel Maida et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In this work we have checked the ability of the essential oils extracted from six different medicinal plants (Eugenia caryophyllata, Origanum vulgare, Rosmarinus officinalis, Lavandula officinalis, Melaleuca alternifolia, and Thymus vulgaris) to inhibit the growth of 18 bacterial type strains belonging to the 18 known species of the Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc). These bacteria are opportunistic human pathogens that can cause severe infection in immunocompromised patients, especially those affected by cystic fibrosis (CF), and are often resistant to multiple antibiotics. The analysis of the aromatograms produced by the six oils revealed that, in spite of their different chemical composition, all of them were able to contrast the growth of Bcc members. However, three of them (i.e., Eugenia caryophyllata, Origanum vulgare, and Thymus vulgaris) were particularly active versus the Bcc strains, including those exhibiting a high degree or resistance to ciprofloxacin, one of the most used antibiotics to treat Bcc infections. These three oils are also active toward both environmental and clinical strains (isolated from CF patients), suggesting that they might be used in the future to fight B. cepacia complex infections.