Composition and antimicrobial studies of essential oil of Thymus vulgaris from Montenegro

Biljana Damjanović-Vratnica, Danka Caković, Svetlana Perović


Chemical composition of the hydrodistilled essential oil of Thymus vulgaris L. (thyme) from Montenegro was analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and its antimicrobial activity was evaluated against 10 microorganisms, including reference and clinically isolated strains. T. vulgaris essential oil yield was 0.42% (v/w, based on the dry leaves weight) whereas the analysis showed that major components, amongst 22 identified in the oil, were geraniol (25.66%), geranyl-acetate (20.34%), linalool (10.89%) and caryophyllene oxide (9.89%). The results of the antimicrobial activity tests revealed that the essential oil of T .vulgaris from Montenegro has rather strong antimicrobial activity, especially against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Candida albicans and Klebsiella pneumoniae. These results confirm the potential use of T. vulgaris essential oil in food products the as well as for therapeutic applications.


Thymus vulgaris L., essential oil, chemical composition, antimicrobial activity

Full Text:



Arraiza, M.P., Andrés, M.P., Arrabal, C., López, J.V. 2009: Seasonal variation of essential oil yield and composition of thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) grown in Castilla-La Mancha (Central Spain). Journal of Essential Oil Research, 21 (4): 360-362.

Azaz, A.D., Irtem, H.A., Kurkcuoğlu, M., Baser, K.H. 2004: Composition and the in vitro antimicrobial activities of the essential oils of some Thymus species. Zeitschrift für Naturforschung C, 59 (1-2): 75-80.

Bakkali, F., Averbeck, S., Averbeck, D., Idaomar, M. 2008: Biological effects of essential oil: a review. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 46 (2): 446-475.

Barel, S., Segal, R., Yashphe, J. 1991: The antimicrobial activity of the essential oil from Achillea fragrantissima. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 33 (1-2): 187-191.

Borugă, O., Jianu, C., Mişcă, C., Goleţ, I., Gruia, A.T., Horhat, F.G. 2014: Thymus vulgaris essential oil: chemical composition and antimicrobial activity. Journal of Medicine and Life, 19 (7): 56–60.

Burt, S. 2004: Essential oils: their antibacterial properties and potential applications in foods - a review. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 94 (3): 223-253.

Carson, C.F., Hammer, K.A. 1995: Antimicrobial activity of the major components of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia. Journal of Applied Bacteriology, 78(3): 264-9.

Carson, C.F., Hammer, K.A., Riley, T.V. 2006: Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 19(1): 50–62.

Chao, S.C., Young, D.G., Oberg, C.J. 2000: Screening for inhibitory activity of essential oils on selected bacteria, fungi and viruses. Journal of Essential Oil Research, 12 (5): 639-649.

Cosentino, S., Tuberoso, C.I.G., Pisano, B., Satta, M., Mascia, V., Arzedi, E., Palmas, F. 1999: In vitro antimicrobial activity and chemical composition of Sardinian Thymus essential oils. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 29 (2): 130-135.

Couladis, M., Tzakou, O., Kujundzić, S., Soković, M., Mimica-Dukić, N. 2004: Chemical analysis and antifungal activity of Thymus striatus. Phytotherapy Research, 18 (1): 40-42.

Dalleau, S., Cateau, E., Bergès, T., Berjeaud, J.M., Imbert, C. 2008: In vitro activity of terpenes against Candida biofilms. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, 31(6): 572–576.

Damjanović-Vratnica, B., Đakov, T., Šuković, D., Damjanović J. 2011: Antimicrobial effect of essential oil isolated from Eucalyptus globules Labill. from Montenegro. Czech Journal of Food Science, 29 (3): 277–284.

Delaquis, P.J., Stanich, K., Girard, B., Mazza G. 2002: Antimicrobial activity of individual and mixed fractions of dill, cilantro, coriander and eucalyptus essential oils. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 74 (1-2): 101-109.

De Lisi, A., Tedone, L., Montesano, V., Sarli, G., Negro, D. 2011: Chemical characterisation of Thymus populations belonging from Southern Italy. Food Chemistry, 125 (4): 1284–1286.

De Martino, L., Bruno, M., Formisano, C., De Feo, V., Napolitano, F., Rosselli, S., Senatore, F. 2009: Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of the essential oils from two species of Thymus growing wild in southern Italy. Molecules, 14 (11): 4614-4624.

Diaz-Maroto, M.S., Perez-Coello, S., Esteban, J., Sanz, J. 2006: Comparison of the volatile composition of wild fennel samples (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.) from Central Spain. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 54 (18): 6814-6818.

Dorman, H.J.D., Deans S.G. 2000: Antimicrobial agents from plants: antibacterial activity of plant volatile oils. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 88 (2): 308-316.

Erel, S.B., Gottfried, R., Şenol, S.G., Yavaşoğul, N.K., Konyalioğlu, S., Zeybek A.U. 2012: Antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of Artemisia L. species from western Anatolia. Turkish Journal of Biology, 36(1): 75-84.

Grigore, A., Paraschiv, I., Colceru-Mihul, S., Bubueanu, C., Draghici, E., Ichim, M. 2010: Chemical composition and antioxidant activity of Thymus vulgaris L. volatile oil obtained by two different methods. Romanian Biotechnological Letters, 15 (4): 5436-5443.

Grosso, C., Figueiredo, A.C., Burillo, J., Mainar, A.M., Urieta, J.S., Barroso, J.G., Coelho, J.A., Palavra, A.M.F. 2010: Composition and antioxidant activity of Thymus vulgaris volatiles: comparison between supercritical fluid extraction and hydrodistillation. Journal of Separation Science, 33 (14): 2211-2218.

Hudaib, M., Speroni, E., Di Pietra A. M, Cavrini, V. 2002: GC/MS evaluation of thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) oil composition and variations during the vegetative cycle. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, 29 (4): 691–700.

Hudaib, M., Aburjai, T. 2007: Volatile components of Thymus vulgaris L. from wild-growing and cultivated plants in Jordan. Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 22 (4): 322–327.

Imelouane, B., Amhamdi, H., Wathelet, J.P., Ankit, M., Khedid K., El Bachiri, A. 2009: Chemical composition of the essential oil of thyme (Thymus vulgaris) from Eastern Morocco. International Journal of Agriculture &. Biology, 11 (2): 205–208.

Jordán, M.J., Martinez, R.M., Goodner, K.L., Baldwin, E.A., Sotomayor, J.A. 2006: Seasonal variation of Thymus hyemalis Lange and Spanish Thymus vulgaris L. essential oils composition. Industrial Crops and Products, 24 (3): 253–263.

Letchamo, W., Gosselin, A., Hoelzl, J., Marquard, R. 1999: The selection of Thymus vulgaris cultivars to grow in Canada. Journal of Essential Oil Research, 11 (3): 337–342.

Leite, M.C., de Brito Bezerra, A.P., de Sousa, J.P., de Oliveira Lima, E. 2015: Investigating the antifungal activity and mechanism(s) of geraniol against Candida albicans strains. Medical Mycology, 53: 275-284.

Mancini, E., Senatore, F., Del Monte, D., De Martino, L., Grulova D., Scognamiglio M., Snoussi, M., De Feo, V. 2015: Antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of five Thymus vulgaris L. essential oils. Molecules, 20: 12016-12028.

Martins, N., Barros L., Santos-Buelga, C. Silva, S., Henriques, M., Ferreira, I. 2015: Decoction, infusion and hydroalcoholic extract of cultivated thyme: Antioxidant and antibacterial activities, and phenolic characterisation. Food Chemistry, 167 (3): 131-137.

Pazyar, N., Yaghoobi, R., Bagherani, N. and Kazerouni, A. 2013: A review of applications of tea tree oil in dermatology. International Journal of Dermatology, 52(7): 784–790.

Pirbalouti, A.G., Hashemi, M., Ghahfarokhi, F.T. 2013: Essential oil and chemical compositions of wild and cultivated Thymus daenensis Celak and Thymus vulgaris L. Industrial Crops and Products, 48: 43– 48.

Pulević, V. 2005: Građa za vaskularnu floru Crne Gore. Dopuna “Conspectus Florae Montenegrinae”. Posebno izdanje Republičkog zavoda za zaštitu prirode Crne Gore, Podgorica. 218 p.

Rios, J.L., Recio, M.C. 2005: Medicinal plants and antimicrobial activity. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 100 (1-2): 80-84.

Roby, M.H.H., Sarhan, M. A., Abdel-Hamed Selim, K., Khalel, K. I. 2013: Evaluation of antioxidant activity, total phenols and phenolic compounds in thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.), sage (Salvia officinalis L.), and marjoram (Origanum majorana L.) extracts. Industrial Crops and Products, 43: 827-831.

Rohlena, J. 1942: Conspectus florae Montenegrinae, Preslia, XX-XXI, 506 p.

Shunying, Z., Yang, Y., Huaidong, Y., Yue, Y., Guolin, Z. 2005: Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of the essential oils of Chrysanthemum indicum. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 96 (1-2): 151-158.

Slavovska, V., Lakušić, B., Jančić, R., Mimica-Dukić, N., Vujičić, Đ. 2006: Chemical composition of the essential oil of the Thymus bracteosus Vis. Ex Bentham (Lamiaceae). Journal of Essential Oil Research, 18 (3): 310-311.

Soković, M., Glamočlija, Ćirić, A., Kataranovskia, D., Marin, P.D., Vukojević, J., Brkić, D. 2008: Antifungal activity of the essential oil of Thymus vulgaris L. and thymol on experimentally induced dermatomycoses. Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy, 34 (12): 1388-1393.

Stahl-Biskup, E., Saez, F., 2002: Thyme, the Genus Thymus, Taylor and Francis, London, 331 p.

Stojković, D., Glamočlija, J., Ćirić, A., Nikolić, M. 2013: Investigation on antibacterial synergism of Origanum vulgare and Thymus vulgaris essential oils. Archive of Biological Science Belgrade, 65(2): 639-643.

Thompson, J.D., Chalchat, J.C., Michet, A., Linhart, Y.B., Ehlers, B. 2003: Qualitative and quantitative variation in monoterpene co-occurrence and composition in the essential oil of Thymus vulgaris chemotypes. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 29 (4): 859–880.

Viljoen, A., Vuuren, S.V., Ernst, E., Klepser, M., Demirci, B., Baser, H., Wyk, B.E.V. 2003: Osmitopsis asteriscoides (Asteraceae) - the antimicrobial and essential oil composition of a Cape-Dutch remedy. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 88 (2-3): 137-143.

Yugoslavian Pharmacopoeia IV. (1984). National Institute for Health Protection, Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Vol. I: 126-128.


  • There are currently no refbacks.