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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 528593, 10 pages
Research Article

Changes of Peel Essential Oil Composition of Four Tunisian Citrus during Fruit Maturation

Laboratoire des Substances Bioactives, Centre de Biotechnologie à la Technopole de Borj-Cédria Hammam Lif 2050, Tunisia

Received 24 October 2011; Accepted 15 December 2011

Academic Editor: Gifone Aguiar Rocha

Copyright © 2012 Soumaya Bourgou 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.


The present work investigates the effect of ripening stage on the chemical composition of essential oil extracted from peel of four citrus: bitter orange (Citrus aurantium), lemon (Citrus limon), orange maltaise (Citrus sinensis), and mandarin (Citrus reticulate) and on their antibacterial activity. Essential oils yields varied during ripening from 0.46 to 2.70%, where mandarin was found to be the richest. Forty volatile compounds were identified. Limonene (67.90–90.95%) and 1,8-cineole (tr-14.72%) were the most represented compounds in bitter orange oil while limonene (37.63–69.71%), β-pinene (0.63–31.49%), γ-terpinene (0.04–9.96%), and p-cymene (0.23–9.84%) were the highest ones in lemon. In the case of mandarin, the predominant compounds were limonene (51.81–69.00%), 1,8-cineole (0.01–26.43%), and γ-terpinene (2.53–14.06%). However, results showed that orange peel oil was dominated mainly by limonene (81.52–86.43%) during ripening. The results showed that ripening stage influenced significantly the antibacterial activity of the oils against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This knowledge could help establish the optimum harvest date ensuring the maximum essential oil, limonene, as well as antibacterial compounds yields of citrus.