Trends in biological activity research of wild-growing aromatic plants from Central Balkans

Ana M. Dzamić, Jelena S. Matejić, Petar D. Marin


Flowering plants consists of more than 300.000 species around the world, out of which a small percentage has been sufficiently investigated from phytochemical and biological activity aspects. Plant diversity of the Balkans is very rich, but still poorly investigated. The aim of this paper is survey of current status and trends in research of wild-growing aromatic plants from Central Balkans. Many aromatic plants are investigated from morphological, physiological, ecological, systematic and phytochemical aspects. However, traditionally used medicinal and aromatic plants can also be considered from applicative aspects, concerning their health effects, and from wide range of usage in cosmetics, and as food, agrochemical and pharmaceutical products. In order to achieve all planned objectives, following methodology has been applied: field research, taxonomic authentication and, comparative biologically assayed phytochemical investigations. The total herbal extracts, postdistillation waste (deodorized) extracts, essential oils and individual compounds of some autochthonous plants have been considered as potential source of antibacterial, antifungal, anti-biofilm, antioxidant and cytotoxic agents. In this manuscript, composition of essential oils and extracts were evaluated in a number of species, from the Apiaceae, Lamiaceae, Rosaceae and Asteraceae families. Extracts which were rich in phenols mostly of flavonoids, often showed high antioxidant potential. Also, phenolic compounds identified in essential oils and extracts were mostly responsible for expected antimicrobial activity. Current worldwide demand is to reduce or, if possible, eliminate chemically synthesized food additives. Plant-produced compounds are becoming of interest as a source of more effective and safe substances than synthetically produced antimicrobial agents (as inhibitors, growth reducers or even inactivators) that control growth of microorganisms. Many different pathogens have developed resistance toward synthetic antibiotics and mycotics, so, there is a need for discovering a new antimicrobials. It is worth noting that synergistic effect of components found in essential oils or in various extracts may pay key role in its biological activities.


Antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, cytotoxic activity, plant extracts, essential oil

Full Text:



Bernhoft, A. 2010. A brief review on bioactive compounds in plants. In: Bernhoft, A. (ed.), Bioactive compounds in plants – benefits and risks for man and animals 11-17, The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Oslo.

Bohlin, L., Alsmark, C., Göransson, U., Klum, M., Wedén, C., Backlund, A. 2012: Strategies and methods for a sustainable search for bioactive compounds. Planta Medica, 78-OP7.

Božin, B., Lakić, N., Srđenović Čonić, B., Kladar, N., Orčić, D., Mimica-Dukić, N. 2012: Antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of a new chemotype of woodland sage (Salvia nemorosa L. subsp. nemorosa, Lamiaceae) essential oil. Biologica Serbica, 34: 51-60.

Božin, B., Mimica-Dukić, N., Bogavac, M., Suvajdžić, Lj., Simin, N., Samojlik, I., Couladis, M. 2008: Chemical composition, antioxidant and antibacterial properties of Achillea collina Becker ex Heimerl s.l. and A. pannonica Scheele essential oils. Molecules, 13: 2058-2068.

Bukvički, D.R., Stojković, D.S., Soković, M.D., Vannini, L., Montanari, C., Pejin, B, Savić, A., Veljić, M. M, Grujić, S.M., Marin P.D 2014: Satureja horvatii essential oil: In vitro antimicrobial and antiradical properties and in situ control of Listeria monocytogenes in pork meat. Meat Science, 96(3): 1355-1360.

Čavar, S., Edita Šolić, M., Maksimović, M. 2013: Chemical composition and antioxidant activity of two Satureja species from Mt. Biokovo. Botanica Serbica, 37(2): 159-165.

Čavar Zeljković, S., Maksimović, M. 2015: Chemical composition and bioactivity of essential oil from Thymus species in Balkan Peninsula. Phytochem Review, 14: 335–352.

Choma, I.M., Grzelak, E.M. 2011: Bioautography detection in thin-layer chromatography. Journal of Chromatogrphy A, 1218(19): 2684-91.

Das, K., Tiwari, R.K.S., Shrivastava, D.K. 2010: Techniques for evaluation of medicinal plant products as antimicrobial agent: Current methods and future trends. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, 4(2): 104-111.

Dillard, C.J., German, J.B. 2000: Review phytochemicals: nutraceuticals and human helth. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 80: 1744–1756.

Đorđević, S., Stanisavljević, D., Ristića, M., Milenković, M., Veličković, D., Stojičević, S., Zlatković, B. 2013: Chemical, antioxidant and antimicrobial analysis of the essential oil and extract of Artemisia alba Tura. Digest Journal of Nanomaterials and Biostructures, 8(4): 1377–1388.

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

Džamić, A., Soković, M.D., Ristić, M.S., Novaković, M., Grujić-Jovanović, S., Tešević, V., Marin P.D. 2010: Antifungal and antioxidant activity of Mentha longifolia (L.) Hudson (Lamiaceae) essential oil. Botanica Serbica, 34(1): 57-61.

Džamić, A., Soković, M., Ristić, M., Grujić-Jovanović, S., Vukojević, J., Marin, P.D. (2008): Chemical composition and antifungal activity of Salvia sclarea (Lamiaceae) essential oil. Archives of Biological Sciences, 60: 233-237.

Džamić, A.M., Soković, M.D., Novaković, M., Jadranin, M., Ristić, M.S., Tešević V., Marin, P.D. 2013: Composition, antifungal and antioxidant properties of Hyssopus officinalis L. subsp. pilifer (Pant.) Murb.essential oil and deodorized extracts. Industrial Crops and Products, 51: 401–407.

Glamočlija, J.M., Soković, M.D., Šiljegovic, J.D., Ristić, M.S., Ćiric, A.D., Grubišić, D.V. 2011: Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of Echinophora spinosa L. (Apiaceae) essential oil. Records of Natural Products, 5(4): 319-323.

Grbović, F., Stanković, M. S., Ćurčić, M., Đorđević, N., Šeklić, D., Topuzović, M., Marković, S. 2013: In vitro cytotoxic activity of Origanum vulgare L. on HCT-116 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines. Plants, 2(3): 371-378.

Grujić, S., Stojanović, G., Mitić, V., Stankov-Jovanović, V., Džamić, A., Alimpić, A., Marin P. 2014: Evaluation of antioxidant activity of Melittis melissophyllum L. extracts. Archives of Biological Sciences, 66(4): 1401-1410.

Hostettmann, K., Marston, A., Wolfender, J.-L. 1995. Strategy in the search for new biologically active plant constituents. In: Hostettmann, K., Marston A., Millard M. and Hamburger M. (eds.), Phytochemistry of Plants used in Traditional Medicine 17-45, Oxford science publications. Oxford University press Inc., New York.

Igić, R., Vukov, D., Božin, B., Orlović, S. 2010: Lekovite biljke. Prirodni resursi Vojvodine. Društvo za zaštitu životne sredine “Vrelo”, Novi Sad, Srbija.

Ilić, M.D., Stankov Jovanović, V.P., Mitić, V.D., Jovanović, O.P., Mihajilov-Krstev, T.M., Marković, M.S., Stojanović, G.S. 2015: Comparison of chemical composition and biological activities of Seseli rigidum fruit essential oils from Serbia. Open Chemistry, 13: 42–51.

Inouye, S., Tsuruoka, M., Watanabe, M., Takeo, K., Akao, M., Nishiyama, Y., Yamaguchi H. 2000: Inhibitory effect of essential oils on apical growth of Aspergillus fumigates by vapour contact. Mycoses, 43: 17–23.

Janaćković, P., Tešević, V., Marin, P., Milosavljević, S., Duletić-Laušević, S., Janaćković, S., Veljić, M. 2008: Brine shrimp lethality bioassay of selected Centaurea L. species (Asteraceae). Archives of Biological Sciences, 60(4): 681-685.

Janaćković, P.T., Soković, M.D., Vujisić, Lj.V., Vajs, V.E., Vućkovic, I.M., Krivošej, Z.Dj., Marin, P.D. (2011): Composition and antimicrobial activity of Seseli globiferum essential oil. Natural Product Communications, 6(8): 1163-1166.

Kostić, D.A., Velicković, J.M., Mitić, SS., Mitić, M.N., Randelović, S.S 2012: Phenolic content, and antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of Crataegus oxyacantha L. (Rosaceae) fruit extract from Southeast Serbia. Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 11(1): 117-124.

Krause, J., Tobin G. 2013: Discovery, Development, and Regulation of Natural Products. In: Using Old Solutions to New Problems - Natural Drug Discovery in the 21st Century. 3-35.

Kundaković, T., Milenković, M., Zlatković, S., Kovacević, N., Goran, N. 2011: Composition of Satureja kitaibelii essential oil and its antimicrobial activity. Natural Product Communications, 6(9): 1353-1356.

Kundaković, T., Stanojković, T., Kolundzija, B., Marković, S., Sukilović, B., Milenković, M., Lakušić, B. 2014: Cytotoxicity and antimicrobial activity of the essential oil from Satureja montana subsp. pisidica (Lamiceae). Natural Product Communications, 9(4): 569-572.

Lakušić, B., Ristić, M., Slavkovska, V., Antić Stanković, J., Milenković, M. 2008: Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of the essential oil from Satureja horvatii Šilić (Lamiaceae). Journal of Serbian Chemical Society, 73(7) 703–711.

Lazarević, J.S., Palić, R.M., Radulović, N.S., Ristić, N.R., Stojanović, G.S. 2010: Chemical composition and screening of the antimicrobial and antioxidative activity of extracts of Stachys species. Journal of Serbian Chemical Society, 75(10): 1347–1359.

Lu, J.-M., Lin, P.H., Yao, Q., Chen, C. 2010: Chemical and molecular mechanisms of antioxidants: experimental approaches and model systems. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 14(4): 840-860.

Maksimović, Z. 2008: In vitro antioxidant activity of ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L., Asteraceae) herb. Industrial Crops and Products, 28(3): 356–360.

Marčetić, M., Petrović, S., Milenković, M., Niketić, M.S. 2014a: Composition, antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of the extracts of Eryngium palmatum Pančić and Vis. (Apiaceae). Central European Journal of Biology, 9(2): 149-155.

Marčetić, M., Petrović, S., Milenković, M., Vujisić, Lj. V., Tešević, V.V., Niketić, M.S 2014b: Composition and antimicrobial activity of root essential oil of Balkan endemic species Eryngium palmatum. Chemistry of Natural Compounds, 49(6): 1140-1142.

Matejić, J., Džamić, A., Mihajilov-Krstev, T., Ranđelović, V., Krivošej, Z., Marin, P. 2012: Total phenolic content, flavonoid concentration, antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of methanol extracts from three Seseli L. taxa. Central European Journal of Biology, 7(6): 1116-1122.

Matejić, J.S., Džamić, A.M., Mihajilov-Krstev, T.M., Ranđelović, V.N., Mileski, K.S., Marin, P.D. 2014: Total phenolic and flavonoid contents and biological activities of Cachrys cristata Dc. extracts. Archives of Biological Science, 66(3): 1117-1123.

Matejić, J., Džamić, A., Mihajilov-Krstev, T., Ranđelović, V., Krivošej, Z., Marin, P. 2013: Total phenolic and flavonoid content, antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of extracts from Tordylium maximum. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, 3(1): 055-059.

Matejić, J.S., Džamić, A.M., Mihajilov-Krstev, T.M., Ranđelović, V.N., Marin, P.D. 2015: Antioxidant and antimicrobial potential of Opopanax hispidus (Apiaceae) extracts. Lekovite sirovine, 35: 141-150.

Mihajilov-Krstev, T.M., Kitić, D.V., Radnović, D.V., Ristić, M.S., Mihajlović-Ukropina, M., Zlatković, B.K. 2011: Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of Satureja kitaibelii essential oil against pathogenic microbial strains. Natural Product Communications, 6(8): 1167-1172.

Mihajilov-Krstev T.M., Jovanović B., Jović J. L., Ilić B.S., Miladinović D.L., Matejić J.S., Rajković J.S., Djordjević Lj.B., Cvetković V.J., Zlatković B.K. 2014: Antimicrobial, antioxidative, and insect repellent effects of Artemisia absinthium essential oil. Planta Medica, 80(18): 1698-1705.

Mihajilov-Krstev, T., Radnović, D., Kitić, D., Stankov-Jovanović, V., Mitić, V., Stojanović-Radić, Z., Zlatković, B. 2014: Chemical composition, antimicrobial, antioxidative and anticholinesterase activity of Satureja montana L. ssp montana essential oil. Central European Journal of Biology, 9(7): 668-677.

Miladinović, D.L., Ilić, B.S., Mihajilov-Krstev, T.M., Jović, J.L., Marković, M.S. 2014: In vitro antibacterial activity of Libanotis montana essential oil in combination with conventional antibiotics. Natural Product Communications, 9(2): 281-286.

Miladinović, D.L., Ilić, B.S., Mihajilov-Krstev, T.M., Nikolić, N.D., Milosavljević, V.N., Nikolić, D.M. 2012: Antibacterial potential of the essential oil from Sideritis montana L. (Lamiaceae). Hemijska industrija, 66(4): 541–545.

Miliauskas, G., Venskutonis, P.R., van Beek, T.A. 2004: Screening of radical scavenging activity of some medicinal and aromatic plant extracts. Food Chemistry, 85: 231-237.

Mileski, K., Džamić, A., Ćirić, A., Grujić, S., Ristić, М., Matevski, V., Marin, P.D. 2014: Radical scavenging and antimicrobial activity of essential oil and extracts of Echinophora sibthorpiana Guss. from Macedonia. Archives of Biological Sciences, 66(1): 401-413.

Mileski, К., Džamić, А., Ćirić, А., Ristić, М., Grujić, S., Matevski, V., Marin, P.D. 2015: Composition, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of endemic species Ferulago macedonica Micevski and E. Mayer. Records of Natural Products, 9(2): 208-223.

Milosavljević, S., Tešević, V., Vučković, I., Jadranin, M., Vajs, V., Soković, M., Janaćković, P., Jovanović, A. 2007: Composition and antifungal activity of the essential oil of Seseli annuum wild-growing in Serbia. Fitoterapia, 78(4): 319–322.

Mimica-Dukić, N.M., Božin, B.N., Soković, M.D., Simin, N.D. 2004: Antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of Melissa officinalis L. (Lamiaceae) essential oil. Journal of Agricultural And Food Chemistry, 52(9): 2485-2489.

Pandey S., Gupta R.K. 2014: Screening of nutritional, phytochemical, antioxidant and antibacterial activity of Chenopodium album (Bathua). Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, 3(3): 1-9.

Petrović, J., Stanojković, A., Čomic, Lj., Ćurčić, S. 2003: Biotic activity of some aromatic plants on Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Pseudomonas fluorescens. Lekovite sirovine, 23: 31-36.

Petrović, N.V., Petrović, S.S., Džamić, А.M., Ćirić, А.D., Ristić, М.S., Milovanović, S.L., Petrović, S.D. 2016a: Chemical composition, antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of Thymus praecox supercritical extracts. Journal of Supercritical Fluids, 110: 117–125.

Petrović, N.V., Petrović, S.S., Ristić, М.S., Džamić, А.M., Ćirić, А.D. 2016b: Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of Thymus praecox Opiz ssp. plytrychus essential oil from Serbia. Records of Natural Products, 10(5): 633-638.

Radovanović, B., Milenković-Anđelković, A.S., Radovanović, A.B., Anđelković, M.Z. 2013: Antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of polyphenol extracts from wild berry fruits grown in Southeast Serbia. Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 12(5): 813-819.

Seidel, V. 2006. Initial and Bulk Extraction. In: Sarker, S.D., Latif, Z., Gray, A.I. (ed.), Methods in Biotechnology Vol. 20, Natural Products Isolation, 2nd ed. Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ.

Soković, M.D., Stojković, D.S., Glamočlija, J.M., Ćirić, A.D., Ristić, M.S., Grubišić, D.V. 2009: Susceptibility of pathogenic bacteria and fungi to essential oils of wild Daucus carota. Pharmaceutical Biology, 47(1): 38-43.

Soković, M.D., Vukojević, J., Marin, P.D., Brkić, D.D., Vajs, V., van Griensven, L.J. 2009: Chemical composition of essential oils of Thymus and Mentha species and their antifungal activities. Molecules, 14: 238-249.

Stanković, M.S., Radojević, I.D., Stefanović, O.D., Topuzović, M.D., Čomić, Lj.R., Branković, S.R. 2011: Immortelle (Xeranthemum annuum L.) as a natural source of biologically active substances. Excli Journal, 10: 230-239.

Stanojević, Lj.P., Stanković, M.Z., Nikolić, V.D., Nikolić, Lj.B. 2008: Anti-oxidative and antimicrobial activites of Hieracium pillosela L. extracts. Journal of Serbian Chemical Society, 73(5): 531-540.

Stanojević, Lj., Stanković, M., Nikolić, V., Nikolić, Lj., Ristić, D., Čanadanović-Brunet, J., Tumbas V. 2009: Antioxidant activity and total phenolic and flavonoid contents of Hieracium pilosella L. extracts. Sensors, 9(7): 5702–5714.

Stanojković, A., Ceković, J., Pivić, R., Stanojković, A. 2008: In Vitro Antibacterial activity of Thymus serpyllum extracts. Proceedings 43rd Croatian and 3rd International Symposium on Agriculture, 516-519.

Stanojković, T., Kolundžija, B., Ćirić, A., Soković, M., Nikolić, M., Kundakovića, T. 2013: Cytotoxicity and antimicrobial activity of Satureja kitaibelii Wierzb. ex Heuff (Lamiaceae). Digest Journal of Nanomaterials and Biostructures, 8(2): 845 – 854.

Stevanović, V, Tan, K, Petrova, A. 2007: Mapping the endemic flora of the Balkans—a progress report. Bocconea, 21: 131–137.

Stojković, S., Petrović, S., Kukić, J., Džamić, A., Ristić, M., Milenković, M., Glamočlija, J., Soković, M., Stojković, D. 2009: Chemical composition and antimicrobial and antioxidant actyvity of essential oil from the flowers of Sesili rigidum. Chemistry of Natural Compounds, 4: 253-256.

Stupar, M., Ljaljević Grbić, M., Džamić, A., Unković, N., Ristić, M., Vukojević, J. 2014: Antifungal activity of Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don (Asteraceae) essential oil against fungi isolated from cultural heritage objects. Archives of Biological Science, 66(4): 1539-1545.

Vladimir-Knežević, S., Kosalec, I., Babac, M., Petrović, M., Ralić, J., Matica, B., Blažeković B. 2012: Antimicrobial activity of Thymus longicaulis C. Presl essential oil against respiratory pathogens. Central European Journal of Biology, 7(6): 1109-1115.

Živković, J., Stojković, D., Petrović, J., Zdunić, G., Glamočlija, J., Soković, M. 2015: Rosa canina L. – new possibilities for an old medicinal herb. Food and Function, 6(12): 3687-3692.


  • There are currently no refbacks.