The chemical composition and biological activities of essential oil from the fresh leaves of Schinus terebinthifolius from Zimbabwe

  • M Gundidza
  • N Gweru
  • ML Magwa
  • V Mmbengwa
  • A Samie
Keywords: Essential oil, Schinus terebinthifolius, Zimbabwe, antimicrobial activity, bacteria, fungi, antioxidant


In the present study, the essential oil from the fresh leaves of Schinus terebinthifolius was extracted using the hydrodistillation method. The oil yield obtained was 0.65%. Gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) analysis of the essential oil showed that the major constituents of the essential oil were sabinene, -pinene, -phellandrene, -pinene, terpinene-4-ol, trans--ocimene and myrcene. Using the hole-plate diffusion testing method, the essential oil exhibited potent antibacterial activity against Yersinia enterocolitica, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, Bacillus subtilis, Klebsielia pneumoniae and Bacillus subtilis with at least 58% inhibition
compared to the positive control. The mycelium growth inhibition method was used for anti-fungal testing. The essential oil exhibited activity against Aspergillus flavus with 58% inhibition, Candida albicans with 49.8% inhibition and Aspergillus niger with 48.7% inhibition. The -carotene, acetone and linoleic acid method was used to assess the antioxidant activity of the essential oil. The essential oil showed anti-oxidant activity of 13.1 mm mean zone of colour retention representing 72.7% activity
compared to the positive control (ascorbic acid). This is the first study on S. terebinthifolius collected from sub-saharan Africa indicating the presence of trans--ocimene in the essential oil and its strong antibacterial activity against Y. enterocolitica and P. aeruginosa as well as moderate antifungal
activities of the plant.

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eISSN: 1684-5315