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Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of the essential oil of <i>Ocimum gratissimum</i> L. growing in Eastern Kenya

LG Matasyoh
JC Matasyoh
FN Wachira
MG Kinyua
AWT Muigai
TK Mukiama


Hydro-distilled volatile oils from the leaves of Ocimum gratissimum L. (Lamiaceae) from Meru district in Eastern Kenya were analysed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and also evaluated
for antimicrobial activity. The oil was dominated by monoterpens which accounted for 92.48%. This monoterpene fraction was characterized by a high percentage of eugenol (68.8%). The other major monoterpenes were methyl eugenol (13.21%), cis-ocimene (7.47%), trans-ocimene (0.94%), -pinene (1.10%) and camphor (0.95%). The sesquiterpenes present in fairly good amounts were germacrene D
(4.25%) and trans-caryophyllene (1.69%). The minorĀ  sesquiterpenes were -farnesene (0.85%) and -
bisabolene (0.74%). The antimicrobial activities of the essential oils were evaluated against both Gram positive (Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus spp.) and Gram negative (Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas
aeruginosae, Salmonella typhi, Klebisiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis) bacteria and a pathogenic fungus Candida albicans. The oil had pronounced antibacterial and antifungal activities on all the

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eISSN: 1684-5315