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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 23, 2020

Chemical composition, antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of essential oils from tangerine (Citrus reticulata L.), grapefruit (Citrus paradisi L.), lemon (Citrus lemon L.) and cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume)

  • Rositsa Denkova-Kostova EMAIL logo , Desislava Teneva , Teodora Tomova , Bogdan Goranov , Zapryana Denkova , Vesela Shopska , Aleksandar Slavchev and Yana Hristova-Ivanova


The phytochemical and biological properties of tangerine (Citrus reticulata L.), grapefruit (Citrus paradisi L.), lemon (Citrus lemon L.) and cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume) essential oils were examined. The chemical composition of the essential oils determined using chromatography analysis revealed that D-limonene and cis-cinnamaldehyde were the main components. The antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of the essential oils have been studied by the DPPH radical-scavenging assay and the disc-diffusion method, respectively. All essential oils had antimicrobial activity against saprophytic (Bacillus subtilis, Penicillium chrysogenum, Fusarium moniliforme, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and pathogenic microorganisms (Escherichia coli, Salmonella abony, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans), with the highest inhibitory activity being observed in cinnamon oil, followed by grapefruit zest oil, tangerine zest oil and lemon zest oil; the MIC ranging from 6 to 60 ppm. In addition, they exhibited high antioxidant activity with the highest antioxidant activity being determined for the grapefruit zest essential oil, followed by the lemon zest essential oil, the tangerine zest essential oil and the cinnamon essential oil. The demonstrated promising results for the antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of the studied essential oils would give reason for their inclusion in the development of bio-preservation strategies for food emulsion preservation.

Corresponding author: Rositsa Denkova-Kostova, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Food Technologies, 26 Maritza Blvd, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, E-mail:


The research in the present paper was supported by project “Tailor-made concept for the development of foods with functional properties on the basis of probiotic bacteria and essential oils”, Young Scientists and Postdocs program, Ministry of Education and Science, Bulgaria.

  1. Author contribution: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: None declared.

  3. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no competing financial interest.


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Supplementary material

The online version of this article offers supplementary material (

Received: 2020-06-10
Accepted: 2020-10-31
Published Online: 2020-11-23
Published in Print: 2021-05-26

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