Table of Contents
ISRN Microbiology
Volume 2012, Article ID 826786, 7 pages
Research Article

Essential Oils of Plants as Biocides against Microorganisms Isolated from Cuban and Argentine Documentary Heritage

1Laboratory of Preventive Conservation, National Archive of the Republic of Cuba, Compostela 906, Esquina a San Isidro, Havana, P.O. Box 10100, Old Havana, Cuba
2Departamento de Química, Instituto de Investigaciones Fisicoquímicas Teóricas y Aplicadas (INIFTA), Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP), La Plata, Argentina
3CONICET, La Plata, Argentina
4Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, UNLP, La Plata, Argentina
5Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo, UNLP, La Plata, Argentina
6CICBA, La Plata, Argentina
7Food Industry Research Institute, Havana, Cuba

Received 30 July 2012; Accepted 23 August 2012

Academic Editors: D. Y. C. Fung and P. Velge

Copyright © 2012 Sofía Borrego 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.


Natural products obtained from plants with biocidal activity represent an alternative and useful source in the control of biodeterioration of documentary heritage, without negative environmental and human impacts. In this work, we studied the antimicrobial activity of seven essential oils against microorganisms associated with the biodeterioration of documentary heritage. The essential oils were obtained by steam distillation. The antimicrobial activity was analyzed using the agar diffusion method against 4 strains of fungi and 6 bacterial strains isolated from repositories air and documents of the National Archive of the Republic of Cuba and the Historical Archive of the Museum of La Plata, Argentina. Anise and garlic oils showed the best antifungal activity at all concentrations studied, while oregano oil not only was effective against fungi tested but also prevented sporulation of them all. Orange sweet and laurel oils were ineffective against fungi. Clove, garlic, and oregano oils showed the highest antibacterial activity at 25% against Enterobacter agglomerans and Streptomyces sp., while only clove and oregano oils were effective against Bacillus sp. at all concentrations studied. This study has an important implication for the possible use of the natural products from plants in the control of biodeterioration of documentary heritage.