Antimicrobial activities of essential oil and hexane extract of Florence fennel [Foeniculum vulgare var. azoricum (Mill.) Thell.] against foodborne microorganisms.J Med Food. 2010 Feb; 13(1):196-204.JM
The objective of this study was to determine the chemical compositions of the essential oil and hexane extract isolated from the inflorescence, leaf stems, and aerial parts of Florence fennel and the antimicrobial activities of the essential oil, hexane extract, and their major component, anethole, against a large variety of foodborne microorganisms. Gas chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis showed that the essential oils obtained from inflorescence, leaf stems, and whole aerial parts contained (E)-anethole (59.28-71.69%), limonene (8.30-10.73%), apiole (trace to 9.23%), beta-fenchyl acetate (3.02-4.80%), and perillene (2.16-3.29%) as the main components. Likewise, the hexane extract of the plant sample exhibited a similar chemical composition, and it contained (E)-anethole (53.00%), limonene (27.16%), gamma-terpinene (4.09%), and perillene (3.78%). However, the hexane extract also contained less volatile components such as n-hexadecanoic acid (1.62%), methyl palmitate (1.17%), and linoleic acid (1.15%). The in vitro antimicrobial assays showed that the essential oil, anethole, and hexane extract were effective against most of the foodborne pathogenic, saprophytic, probiotic, and mycotoxigenic microorganisms tested. The results of the present study revealed that (E)-anethole, the main component of Florence fennel essential oil, is responsible for the antimicrobial activity and that the essential oils as well as the hexane extract can be used as a food preservative. This study is the first report showing the antimicrobial activities of essential oil and hexane extract of Florence fennel against probiotic bacteria.