Antifungal activity of Cymbopogon citratus essential oil against Aspergillus flavus

Ana Paula Martinazzo, Filipe da Silva de Oliveira, Carlos Eduardo de Souza Teodoro


The search for alternatives for the control of microbiological contamination in foods has been the object of study in different scientific areas. This study aimed to evaluate the efficiency of lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) essential oil in controlling the growth of the fungus Aspergillus flavus in three types of analysis: first, by in vitro tests, in essential oil doses between 0.2 and 1.0 μL/ml; second, by serial microdilution to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration, in doses between 0.1 and 1.2 μL/mL; and third, by inhibition of fungal growth in corn kernels contaminated using essential oil doses of 0.4, 0.7, and 1.0 μL/mL, in the incubation times of 14, 28, and 42 days. The in vitro tests showed that the essential oil controlled the fungus from doses of 0.6 μL/mL, but the dose of 1.0 μL/mL controlled 100% growth until day eight of incubation, from which it decreased. The minimum inhibitory concentration for the microdilution analysis was 0.9 μL/mL. The evaluation of the corn kernels for all doses of essential oil and times tested showed 100% inhibition of the fungal growth.


Microorganism; Storage; Mycotoxin

Full Text:



ABDULAZEEZ MA, ABDULLAHI AS, JAMES BD. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon spp.) Oils. In: Preedy VR, editor. Essential oils in food preservation, flavor and safety. Cambridge:Academic Press; 2015. p. 509-515.

AJAYI EO, SADIMENKO AP, AFOLAYAN AJ. Data showing chemical compositions of the essential oils of the leaves of Cymbopogon citratus obtained by varying pH of the extraction medium. Data Brief. 2016;8:599-604.

AKHILA A. Essential oil bearing plants: The genus Cymbopogon. Boca Raton: Boca Raton:CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group; 2010.

AMAIKE S, KELLER NP. Aspergillus flavus. Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2011;49:107-133.

AMBROSIO CMS, ALECAR SM, SOUZA, RLM, MORENO AM, GLÓRIA EM. Antimicrobial activity of several essential oils on pathogenic and beneficial bacteria. Ind Crops Prod. 2017;97:128-136.

BAKKALI F, AVERBECK S, AVERBECK D, IDAOMAR M. Biological effects of essential oils - A review. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46(2):446-475.

BOUKAEW S, PRASERTSAN P, SATTAYASAMITSATHIT S. Evaluation of antifungal activity of essential oils against aflatoxigenic Aspergillus flavus and their allelopathic activity from fumigation to protect maize seeds during storage. Ind Crops Prod. 2017;97:558-566.

BOUKHATEM MN, FERHAT MA, KAMELI A, SAIDI F, KEBIR HT. Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) essential oil as a potent anti-inflammatory and antifungal drugs. Libyan J Med.2014;9.

BOSSOU AD, AHOUSSI E, RUYSBERGHB E, ADAMS A, SMAGGHEC G, KIMPE N, et al. Characterization of volatile compounds from three Cymbopogon species and Eucalyptus citriodora from Benin and their insecticidal activities against Tribolium castaneum. Ind Crops Prod. 2015;76:306-317.

BRASIL. Agência Nacional De Vigilância Sanitária: Farmacopeia Brasileira. 5. ed. v. 2. Brasília: Anvisa; 2010, 904 p.

CASTRO LO, RAMOS RLD. Principais gramíneas produtoras de óleos essenciais: Cymbopogon citratus (DC) Stapf. , capim-cidró, Cymbopogon martinii (Rox.) J.F. Watson, palma-rosa, Cymbopogon nardus (L.) Rendle, citronela, Elyonurus candidus (Trin.) Hack. , capim-limão, Vetiveria zizanioides (L.) Nash, vetiver. Porto Alegre: FEPAGRO; 2003.

CHAO SC, YOUNG DG, OBERG CJ. Screening for inhibitory activity of essential oils on selected bacteria, fungi and viruses. JEOR. 2000;12(5):639-649.

CHOI HS. Character impact odorants of citrus hallabong [(C.unshiu Marcov x C. sinensis Osbeck) x C. reticulate Blanco] cold-pressed pell oil. J Agric Food Chem. 2003;51:2687-2692.

DANIELLI LJ, PIPPI B, SOARES KD, DUARTE JA, MACIEL AJ, MACHADO MM, et al. Chemosensitization of filamentous fungi to antifungal agents using Nectandra Rol. ex Rottb. species essential oils. Ind Crops Prod. 2017;102:7-15.

DAVARI M, EZAZI R. Chemical composition and antifungal activity of the essential oil of Zhumeria majdae, Heracleum persicum and Eucalyptus sp. against some important phytopathogenic fungi. JMM. 2017; 27:463-468.

DEMIRCI B, YUSUFOGLY HS, TABANCA N, TEMEL HE, BERNIER UR, AGRAMONTE NM, et al. Rhanterium epapposum Oliv. essential oil: Chemical composition and antimicrobial, insect-repellent and anticholinesterase activities. SPJ. 2016;25(5):703-708.

DENG J, HE B, HE D, CHEN Z. A potential biopreservative: Chemical composition, antibacterial and hemolytic activities of leaves essential oil from Alpinia guinanensis. Ind Crops Prod. 2016;94:281-287.

DELLAVALE PD, CABRERA A, ALEM D, LARRAÑAGA P, FERREIRA F, RIZZA MD. Antifungal activity of medicinal plant extracts against phytopathogenic fungos Alternaria SPP. CHIL J AGR RES. 2011;71(2):231-239.

DONSÌ F, FERRARI G. Essential oil nanoemulsions as antimicrobial agents in food. J. Biotechnol. 2016;233:106-120.

DWIVEDY AK, KUMAR M, UPADHYAY N, PRAKASH B, DUBEY NK. Plant essential oils against food borne fungi and mycotoxins. Curr Opin Food Sci. 2016;11:16-21.

EL OUADI Y, MANSSOURI M, BOUYANZER A, MAJIDI L, BENDAIF H, ELMSELLEM H, et al. Essential oil composition and antifungal activity of Melissa officinalis originating from north-Est Morocco, against postharvest phytopathogenic fungi in apples. Microb Pathog. 2017;107:321-326.

EL OUEDGHIRI K, BADRANE N, MANIAR S, EL-AKHAL F, OUAZZANI CF, EL OUALI LA. Evaluation of chronic intoxication by organophosphate insecticides among hygiene workers in the city of Fez, Morocco. Arch Mal Prof. 2016;77(5):756-765.

GARCIA R, ALVES ESS, SANTOS MP, AQUIJE GMFV, FERANDES AAR, et al. Antimicrobial activity and potential use of monoterpenes as tropical fruits preservatives. Braz J Microbiol. 2008;39:163-168.

HANAA ARM, SALLAM YI, EL-LEITHY AS, ALY SE. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) essential oil as affected by drying methods. AOAS. 2012;57(2):113-116.

HEMALATHA D, MUTHUKUMAR A, RANGASAMY B, NATARAJ B, RAMESH B, et al. Impact of sublethal concentration of a fungicide propiconazole on certain health biomarkers of Indian major carp Labeo rohita. Biocatal Agric Biotechnol. 2016;8:321-327.

HELAL, GA, SARHAN MM, ABU SHAHLA AN, ABOU EL KHAIR EK. Effects of Cymbopogon citratus L. essential oil on the growth, morphogenesis and aflatoxin production of Aspergillus flavus ML2‐strain. J Basic Microbiol. 2007;47(1):5-15.

JAHANIAN E, MAHDAVI AH, ASGARY S. Effect of dietary supplementation of mannanoligosaccharides on growth performance, ileal microbial counts, and jejunal morphology in broiler chicks exposed to aflatoxins. Livest Sci. 2016;190:123-130.

JANSEN AM, SCHEFFER JJC, BAERHEIM SA. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils from Greek Sideritis species. Pharmazie. 1987;45(1):70-71.

KIRAN S, KUJUR A, PATEL L, RAMALAKSHMI K, PRAKASH B. Assessment of toxicity and biochemical mechanisms underlying the insecticidal activity of chemically characterized Boswellia carterii essential oil against insect pest of legume seeds. Pest Biochem Physiol. 2017;139:17-23.

LANÇAS FM. Cromatografia em fase gasosa. São Carlos: Editora Acta; 1993.

LEE HJ, RYU D. Advances in mycotoxin research: public health perspectives. JFS. 2015;80:2970-2983.

LEE LT. Avaliação do potencial fungicida do óleo essencial de capim-limão (Cymbopogon flexuosus) no controle dos fungos Aspergillus brasiliensis e Aspergillus flavus na conservação de grãos de trigo (Triticum aestivum) [dissertação]. Volta Redonda: Escola de Engenharia/UFF, 2017. 61 p.

LEI H, WEI Q, WANG Q, SU A, XUE M, LIU Q, HU Q. Characterization of ginger essential oil/palygorskite composite (GEO-PGS) and its anti-bacteria activity. Mater Sci Eng C. 2017;73:381-387.

LEWINSOHN E, DUDAI N, TADMOR Y, KATZIR I, RAVID U, PUTIEVSKY E, JOEL DM. Histochemical localization of citral accumulation in lemongrass leaves (Cymbopogon citratus (D.C.) Staff. Poaceae). Ann Bot, v.81, n. 1, p.35-39, 1998.

LOU Z, CHEN J, FUHAO Y, WANG H, XINGRAN K, MA C, ZHU S. The antioxidant, antibacterial, antibiofilm activity of essential oil from Citrus medica L. var. sarcodactylis and its nanoemulsion. LWT. 2017;80:371-377.

MACHADO M, PIRES PF, DINIS AM, SOUSA MCR. Monoterpenic aldehydes as potential anti-Leishmania agents: activity of Cymbopogon citratus and citral on L. infantum, L. tropica and L. major. Exp Parasitol. 2012;130(3):223-231.

MARTINAZZO AP, MELO EC, DEMUNER AJ, BERBERT PA. Avaliação do óleo essencial folhas de Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf após o processo de secagem. B LATINOAM CARIBE PL. 2013;12(5):523-536.

MISHRA AK, DUBEY NK. Evaluation of some essential oils for their toxicity against fungi causing deterioration of stored food commodities. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 1994;60(4):1101-1105.

ONAWUNMI GO, YISAK W, OGUNLANA EO. Antibacterial constituents in the essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf. J Ethnopharmacol. 1984;12:279-286.

PANDEY AK, RAI MK, ACHARYA D. Chemical composition and antimycotic activity of the essential oils of corn mint (Mentha arvensis) and lemon grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) against human pathogenic fungi. Pharm Biol. 2003;41:421-425.

PARANAGAMA PA, ABEYSEKERA KH, ABEYWICKRAMA K, NUGALIYADDE L. Fungicidal and anti-aflatoxigenic effects of the essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf. (lemon grass) against Aspergillus flavus Link. isolated from stored rice. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2003;37(1):86-90.

POLATOĞLU K, KARAKOÇ ÖC, YÜCEL YY, GÜCEL S, DEMIRCI B, BASER KHC, DEMIRCI F. Insecticidal activity of edible Crithmum maritimum L. essential oil against Coleopteran and Lepidopteran insects. Ind Crops Prod. 2016;89:383-389.

RICE PJ, COATS JR. Insecticidal properties of several monoterpenoids to the house fly (Diptera: Muscidae), red flour beetle (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), and southern corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). J Econ Entomol. 1994;87(5):1172-1179.

DE RUYCK K, DE BOEVRE M, HUYBRECHTS I, DE SAEGER S. Dietary mycotoxins, co-exposure, and carcinogenesis in humans: Short review. Mutat Res Rev Mutat Res. 2015;766:32-41.

SALEM MZM, ZIDAN YE, MANSOUR MMA, EL HADIDI NMN, ELGAT WAAA. Antifungal activities of two essential oils used in the treatment of three commercial woods deteriorated by five common mold fungi. Int Biodeterior Biodegradation. 2016;106:88-96.

SAMSON RA, VISAGIE CM, HOUBRAKEN J, HONG SB, HUBKA V, KLAASSEN CH, et al. Phylogeny, identification and nomenclature of the genus Aspergillus. Stud. Mycol. 2014;78:141-173.

SÁNCHEZ-RUBIO M, TABOADA-RODRÍGUEZ A, CAVA-RODA R, LÓPEZ-GÓMEZ A, MARÍN-INIESTA F. Combined use of thermo-ultrasound and cinnamon leaf essential oil to inactivate Saccharomyces cerevisiae in natural orange and pomegranate juices. LWT. 2016;73:140-146.

SCHWAN-ESTRADA, K.R.F. Extratos vegetais e de cogumelos no controle de doenças de plantas. Hort. bras. 2009;27(2):4038-4045.

SELIM KM, EL-HOFY H, KHALIL RH. The efficacy of three mycotoxin adsorbents to alleviate aflatoxin B1-induced toxicity in Oreochromis niloticus. Aquac Int. 2014;22(2):523-540.

SIMÕES CMO, editor. Farmacognosia: da planta ao medicamento. 5. ed. rev. ampl. Porto Alegre: Editora da UFRGS; Florianópolis: Editora da UFSC; 2003.

SILVA JR AA. Essentia Herba – Plantas Bioativas. Florianópolis: Epagri; 2003.

TATSADJIEU NL, DONGMO PMJ, NGASSOUM MB, ETOA FX, MBOFUNG CMF. Investigations on the essential oil of Lippia rugosa from Cameroon for its potential use as antifungal agent against Aspergillus flavus Link ex. Fries. Food Control. 2009;20(2):161-166.

TISSERAND R, YOUNG R. Essential Oil Safety-E-Book: A Guide for health care professionals. 2. ed. Londres: Elsevier Health Sciences; 2013.

TULLIO V, NOSTRO A, MANDRAS N, DUGO P, BANCHE G, CANNATELLI MA, et al. Antifungal activity of essential oils against filamentous fungi determined by broth microdilution and vapour contact methods. J Appl Microbiol. 2006;102:1544–1550.

XIE Y, ZHUNJING W, QIANQIAN H, ZHANG D. Antifungal activity of several essential oils and major components against wood-rot fungi. Ind Crops Prod. 2017;108:278-285.

ZHANG H, CHEN F, WANG X, YAO HY. Evaluation of antioxidant activity of parsley (Petroselinum crispum) essential oil and identification of its antioxidant constituents. Food Res Int. 2006;39(8):833-839.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Ciência e Natura

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.