Natural Products Chemistry & Research

ISSN - 2329-6836

Research Article - (2017) Volume 5, Issue 2

Chemical Composition and Bactericidal Activities of the Leaf Essential Oil of Eucalyptus maculata Hook

Ololade ZS1,2*, Olawore NO2, Olasoji SO3 and Anosike SO4
1Department of Chemical and Food Sciences, Bells University of Technology, Ota, Nigeria
2Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Nigeria
3Department of Chemistry, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
4Department of Biological Sciences, Covenant University of Technology, Ota, Nigeria
*Corresponding Author: Ololade ZS, Department of Chemical and Food Sciences, Bells University of Technology, Ota, Nigeria, Tel: +2348034836546 Email: ,


This study examined the phytochemicals and medicinal potentials of the leaf essential oil of E. maculata from Nigeria. The essential oil was extracted by hydro-distillation technique and was analysed for various chemical composition using GC-MS. The essential oil was also screened for its antimicrobial activities against multi-drug resistant gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria using the agar well diffusion method. The GC-MS analysis revealed that ß-citronellol (18.5%), ß-pinene (9.4%), 2,6-dimethyl-2,6-octadiene (8.3%), a-pinene (7.1%), 2,6-dimethyl-1,3,5,7- octatetraene (6.7%), and citronellyl acetate (6.0%) were the major compounds in the leaf essential oil. The essential oil exhibited strong antibacterial activities against most of the tested bacteria, with diameters of inhibition zones ranging from 15.0-30.0 mm. The leaf essential oil of E. maculata is a possible alternative antibiotic drug for treatment of disease caused by multi-drug resistant bacteria.

Keywords: Eucalyptus maculate; Essential oil; Multi-drug resistant bacteria; Antibacterial


Medicinal plants are essential remedies for treatment of sicknesses and diseases from time immemorial. They contain pharmacologically active phytochemicals which are found in various parts of the plant and are very useful for mankind in many ways as drugs, flavours and preservatives [1-6]. Eucalyptus maculata Hook commonly called spotted gum; a member of Myrtaceae family is an attractive ornamental tree with significantly larger vascular tissue. It is adapted to water limited environments like drought and salinity. It is a fast growing and tall plant, usually about 35-45 m in height and average width of 1.5 m at breast height over bark. The immature leaves are glossy green and elliptic to ovate while the adult leaves are lanceolate and are 10-21 cm long and 1.5-3 cm wide. The flowers are small, white and clustered which develop to ovoid fruits, which are disc depressed; valves enclosed, nectar from the flowers, even the seed is sometimes eaten. Trunks are relatively long and usually clean and straight without branches for more than half their height. Bark is smooth to ground level and greenish cream when fresh. The wood is slightly greasy and gum veins are common [7,8]. E. maculata is commonly used locally for treatment of various diseases and preservatives in food and drugs [9-11]. Essential oils are volatile complex mixture of organic compounds found in plants as secondary metabolites and characterized by a strong odour [12,13]. They are normally formed in special cells in plants and commonly concentrated in some particular region such as leaves, bark, seed, fruit, root, flowers, twigs or stem [14]. They were thought to be the quintessence responsible for the odour and flavour of the plants [15]. They have been shown to not only possess broad-range antibacterial potentials, but also antioxidant, antiparasitic, pesticidal, antiviral, anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties [16,17].

Bacteria are developing thick resistance to synthetic antibiotics in recent time [18,19]. The resistance of bacteria to synthetic and commercial drugs has been a serious threat to human health and world economy [20,21]. Drug resistance by bacteria has also becoming a large and growing problem in infections that account for most of diseases in developing countries [21,22]. The effectiveness of currently available antibiotics is decreasing due to the increasing number of resistant strains causing infections, therefore a serious need for alternative and cheap antibiotic from natural sources [23,24]. Moreover, because of side effects of using synthetic and commercial antibiotic there is need for natural antibiotics from plants [25,26]. It is necessary to take quick steps to save the entire globe from going into a post-antibiotic period, in which bacteria infections can become life threatening [20]. This study was designed to investigate the bactericidal activities of the leaf essential oil of E. maculata grown in Nigeria on some multi-drug resistant clinically isolated bacteria.

Materials and Methods

Plant material and extraction of the essential oil

Fresh and mature leaves of the plant were collected from Afforestation Research Station Kaduna, Nigeria and it was authenticated as E. maculata Hook. Air dried and pulverized leaves were subjected to hydro-distillation using all-glass Clevenger-type apparatus to extract the essential oil [27]. The obtained essential oil was then stored in vial in refrigerator to prevent evaporation.

GC-MS analysis

The leaf essential oil was analysed using Shimadzu GC-MS-QP2010 Plus (Japan). The separations were carried out using a Restek Rtx-5MS fused silica capillary column (5%-diphenyl-95%-dimethylpolysiloxane) of 30 m × 0.25 mm internal diameter (di) and 0.25 mm in film thickness. The conditions for analysis were set as follows; column oven temperature was programmed from 60-280°C (temp at 60°C was held for 1.0 min, raised to 180°C for 3 min and then finally to 280°C held for 2 min); injection mode, Split ratio 41.6; injection temp, 250°C; flow control mode, linear velocity (36.2 cm/sec); purge flow 3.0 mlmin-1; pressure, 56.2 kPa; helium was the carrier gas with total flow rate 45.0 mlmin-1; column flow rate, 0.99 mlmin-1; ion source temp, 200°C; interface temp, 250°C; solvent cut time, 3.0 min; start time 3.5 min; end time, 24.0 min; start m/z, 50 and end m/z, 700. Detector was operated in EI ionization mode of 70 eV. Components were identified by matching their mass spectra with those of the spectrometer data base using the NIST computer data bank, as well as by comparison of the fragmentation pattern with those reported in the literature [28].

Screening for antimicrobial activities

The antibacterial potentials of the leaf essential oil solutions were determined by agar-well diffusion method against multi-drug resistance gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus agalactiae), and gram-negative (Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Salmonella typhimurium) bacteria. Mueller Hinton agar plates were prepared by the manufacturer’s instructions. Pure isolates of bacteria was sub-cultured in the recommended specific medium at 37°C for 24 h. All the bacteria cultures were adjusted to 0.5 McFarland standards, inoculum of each test organism was swabbed onto the specific media plates and kept for 15 min for adsorption, and then 6 mm diameter wells were bored with a sterile borer in the inoculated agar plates. Different concentrations of the essential oil solutions were pipetted directly into the wells of the inoculated specific media agar plates for each test organism. The plates were allowed to stand for 30 min for diffusion of the essential oil solutions to take place and incubated at 37°C for 24 h. The antibacterial activities of the essential oil were compared with synthetic antibiotics i.e., gentamicin (GEN) and cloxicillin (CXC). The bactericidal activities of the essential oil solutions indicated by the formation of zones of inhibition around the wells were measured in millimetre using a transparent ruler [29].

Results and Discussion

Chemical composition of the leaf essential oil

The GC-MS analysis of the leaf essential oil of E. maculata revealed that the leaf essential oil has 24 organic compounds representing 86.4% of the total composition. The results showed that the major identified compounds in the leaf essential oil were β-citronellol (18.5%), β-pinene (9.4%), 2,6-dimethyl-2,6-octadiene (8.3%), α-pinene (7.1%), 2,6-dimethyl-1,3,5,7-octatetraene (6.7%) and citronellyl acetate (6.0%). 1,8-cineole which is a principal component of most Eucalyptus essential oils was of very low percentage in in the leaf essential oil of E. maculata grown in Nigeria (Table 1). This result is similar to what was obtained from the leaf essential oil of the plant from Brazil, Iran and Tunisia [30-32]. Most of the secondary metabolites present in this essential oil were reported to have good pharmacological properties [33-36].

Compound Retention Index Percentage Composition
β-pinene 943 9.4
α-pinene 948 7.1
2,6-dimethyl-1,3,5,7-octatetraene 966 6.7
2,6-dimethyl-2,6-octadiene 985 8.3
1,8-cineole 1059 2.3
myecenol 1064 1.8
exo-fenchol 1138 1.6
p-menth-1-en-8-ol 1143 1.8
β-citronellol 1179 18.5
isopelegol 1196 1.1
2-decyn-1-ol 1275 2.6
citronellyl acetate 1336 6.0
isoledene 1373 2.0
aromadendrene 1386 1.5
patchoulane 1393 0.3
caryophyllene 1490 3.3
ledol 1530 1.9
eudesm-4(4)-ene-11-ol 1593 1.2
guaiol 1595 2.0
cubenol 1650 3.0
10,13-dioxotricyclo[]tetradec-4-ene 1833 0.3
trans-geranylgeraniol 2196 1.7
erucylamide 2625 0.7
1-heptacosanol 3016 1.3
Percentage Total   86.4

Table 1: Chemical Composition of the Leaf Essential Oil of Eucalyptusmaculate.

Antimicrobial activities

All the tested bacteria showed sensitivity to the leaf essential oil of E. maculata compared to standard antibiotics (Table 2). Zones of inhibitions values of the essential oil against the tested gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria ranged between 15.0-30.0 mm. It is noteworthy that the zone of inhibition remained unchanged despite the increase in concentration. The tested bacteria were found to be resistant to cloxicillin (CXC) but some were sensitive to gentamicin (GEN) synthetic antibiotics. The antibacterial potentials of the leaf essential oil from Nigeria were more active than that of leaf essential oil of E. maculata from Tunisia which gave lower zones of inhibition between 7.0–9.0 mm against E. faecalis, S. aureus, E. coli and P. aeruginosa [32]. The investigated essential oil showed strong activities against multidrug resistant bacteria due to the phytochemicals in the essential oil as well as the possible synergistic interaction between phytochemicals to penetrate the cell membrane of the organisms, inhibit their growth and proliferation; also induced a toxic effects to the membrane structures [37-44]. The investigated essential oil as a natural antibiotic substance is locally available, easily accessible, easy to extract, inexpensive, environmentally safe and friendly [45,46].

  Leaf Essential Oil Standard
Conc. (μgml-1) 1000 100 10 10μg 5μg
E. coli 30 30 30 22 -
K. pneumoniae 15 15 15 21 -
P. aeruginosa 18 18 18 20 -
P. mirabilis 18 18 18    
S. agalactiae 20 20 20 - -
S. aureus 30 30 30 - -
S. typhimurium 18 18 18 21 -

Key note: - = Resistant, not sensitive (<8 mm), sensitive (9-14 mm), very sensitive (15-19 mm) and ultrasensitive (>20 mm)

Table 2: Zones of Inhibition (mm) showing the Antibacterial Properties of the Leaf Essential oil of E. maculate.


In this study it was shown that the leaf essential oil of E. maculata grown in Nigeria contains medicinally active phytochemicals. The results indicated that the essential oil exhibited strong bactericidal activities against tested multi-drug resistant gram-positive and gramnegative bacteria. The main compounds that responsible for the activities of the essential oil should be isolated. Moreover, clinical trials may be needed for further tests for the potentials of this essential oil as a natural antibiotic agent.

Conflict of Interest

We have no conflict of interest.


  1. Farahani HA, Valadabadi SA, Jahanfar Daneshian J, Shiranirad AM, Khalvati MA (2009) Medicinal and aromatic plants farming under drought conditions. Journal of Horticulture and Forestry 1: 086-092.
  2. Abad MJ, Bedoya LM, Apaza L, Bermejo P (2012)The Artemisia L. Genus: A Review of Bioactive Essential Oils. Molecules 17: 2542-2566.
  3. Kunle OF, Egharevba HO, Ahmadu PO (2012) Standardization of herbal medicines. International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation 4: 101-112.
  4. Misra L (2013) Traditional Phytomedicinal Systems, Scientific Validations and Current Popularity as Nutraceuticals.   International Journal of Traditional and Natural Medicines 2: 27-75.
  5. Sharopov FS, Zhang H, Wink M, Setzer WN (2015) Aromatic Medicinal Plants from Tajikistan (Central Asia). Medicines 2: 28-46.
  6. Swamy MK, Sinniah UR (2015) A Comprehensive Review on the Phytochemical Constituents and Pharmacological Activities of Pogostemon cablin Benth.: An Aromatic Medicinal Plant of Industrial Importance. Molecules 20: 8521-8547.
  7. Ali I, Abbas SQ, Hameed M, Naz N, Zafar S, Kanwali S (2009) Leaf Anatomical Adaptations in Some Exotic Species of Eucalyptus L'her. (Myrtaceae). Pakistan Journal of Botany 41: 2717-2727.
  8. McMahon L, George B, Hean R (2010) Treesmart Factsheet, Corymbia maculata, Corymbia citriodora subsp. variegata and Corymbia henryi. Primefact-A 1073: 1-7.
  9. Silva SM, Abe SY, Murakami FS, Frensch G, Marques FA, Nakashima T (2011) Essential Oils from Different Plant Parts of Eucalyptus cinerea F. Muell. ex Benth.   (Myrtaceae) as a Source of 1,8-Cineole and Their Bioactivities. Pharmaceuticals 4: 1535- 1550.
  10. Reddy LJ, Gopu S, Jose B, Jalli RD (2012) Evaluation of Antibacterial and DPPH Radical Scavenging Activities of The Leaf Essential Oils of Pongamiapinnatta and Eucalyptusmaculate. Asian Journal of Biochemical and Pharmaceutical Research 3: 25-32.
  11. Ghaffar A, Yameen M, Kiran S, Kamal S, Jalal F, et al.(2015) Chemical Composition and in-Vitro Evaluation of the Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activities of Essential Oils Extracted from Seven Eucalyptus Species. Molecules 20: 20487-20498.
  12. Gurjar MS, Ali S, Akhtar M, Singh KS (2012) Efficacy of plant extracts in plant disease management. Agricultural Sciences 3: 425-433.
  13. Sa RCS, Andrade LN, Sousa DP(2013)A Review on Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Monoterpenes. Molecules 18: 1227-1254.
  14. Oussalah M, Caillet S, Saucier L, Lacroix M (2006) Inhibitory effects of selected plant essential oils on the growth of four pathogenic bacteria: E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes, Food Control 18: 414-420.
  15. Sadgrove N, Jones G (2015) A Contemporary Introduction to Essential Oils: Chemistry, Bioactivity and Prospects for Australian Agriculture. Agriculture 5: 48-102.
  16. Pierre S, Toua V, Tchobsala, FN Fernand T, Alexandre-Michel NN, Jean M (2011) Medicinal plants used in traditional treatment of malaria in Cameroon, Journal of Ecology and the Natural Environment 3: 104-117.
  17. Matheka DM, Alkizim FO (2012) Complementary and alternative medicine for type 2 diabetes mellitus: Role of medicinal herbs. Journal of Diabetes and Endocrinology 3: 44-56.
  18. Davies J, Davies D (2010) Origins and Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews 74: 417-433.
  19. Woon SA, Fisher D (2016) Antimicrobial agents-optimising the ecological balance. BMC Medicine 14: 1-9.
  20. Vadhana P, Singh BR, Bharadwaj M, Singh SV (2015) Emergence of Herbal Antimicrobial Drug Resistance in Clinical Bacterial Isolates Pharmaceutica Analytica Acta 6: 1-7.
  21. Ventola CL (2015) The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis, Part 1: Causes and Threats. P and T 40: 277-283.
  22. Ravi A, Avershina E, Ludvigsen J, L’Abee-Lund TM, Rudi K (2014) Integrons in the Intestinal Microbiota as Reservoirs for Transmission of Antibiotic Resistance Genes. Pathogens 3: 238-248.
  23. Iyalomhe GBS, Iyalomhe SI, Eholor RE (2011) Antibiotic prescription and resistance: A contemporary literature review. International Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences 3: 376-380.
  24. Lee CR, Cho IH, Jeong BC, Lee SH (2013) Strategies to Minimize Antibiotic Resistance. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 10: 4274-4305.
  25. Berdy J (2012) Thoughts and facts about antibiotics: Where we are now and where we are heading. The Journal of Antibiotics 65: 385-395.
  26. Kumar NS, Simon N (2016) In-vitro Antimicrobial Activity and Phytochemical Analysis of Murraya Koenigii (L) Leaf Extracts. Global Journal of Science Frontier Research: C Biological Science 16: 29-32.
  27. European Pharmacopoeia Commission (2008) Sage leaf (Salviaofficinalis). European, Pharmacopoeia. 6th edn. Strasbourg, France: European Directorate Quality Medicine,p: 2853.
  28. Ololade ZS, Olawore NO, Oladosu IA (2013) Phytochemistry and Therapeutic Potentials of the Seed Essential Oil of Eucalyptus maculata Hook from Nigeria. Organic Chemistry:Current Research 2: 114.
  29. Ololade ZS, Fakankun OA, Alao FO, Ajewole OO (2016) Free Radical Scavenging, Antioxidant and Antibacterial Activities of the Fruit-Pulp Essential Oil of Annonamuricata and Its Phytochemical Composition.International Journal of Applied Research and Technology5: 47-52.
  30. Batista-Pereira LG, Fernandes JB, Correa AG, Silva MFGF, Vieira PC (2006) Electrophysiological Responses of Eucalyptus Brown Looper Thyrinteina arnobia to Essential Oils of Seven Eucalyptus Species. Journal of Brazilian Chemical Society 17: 555-561.
  31. Assareh MH, Sedaghati M, Kiarostami M, Zare AG (2010) Seasonal changes of essential oil composition of Eucalyptus maculata Hook. Iranian Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants 25: 581-588.
  32. Elaissi A, Rouis Z, Mabrouk S, Salah KBH, Aouni M, et al.(2012) Correlation Between Chemical Composition and Antibacterial Activity of Essential Oils from Fifteen Eucalyptus Species Growing in the Korbous and Jbel Abderrahman Arboreta (North East Tunisia). Molecules 17: 3044-3057.
  33. Bastos JF, Moreira IJ, Ribeiro TP, Medeiros IA, Antoniolli AR, et al. (2010)Hypotensive and vasorelaxant effects of citronellol, a monoterpene alcohol, in rats. Basic and Clinincal Pharmacology and Toxicology 106: 331-337.
  34. Saraswathi J, Venkatesh K, Baburao N, Hilal MH, Rani AR (2011) Phytopharmacological importance of Pelargonium species. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 5:  2587-2598.
  35. Silva ACR, Lopes PM, Azevedo MMB, Costa DC, Alviano CS, et al. (2012) Biological activities of a-pinene and ß-pinene enantiomers. Molecules 17: 6305-6316.
  36. Juergens UR (2014) Anti-inflammatory properties of the monoterpene 1.8-cineole: current evidence for co-medication in inflammatory airway diseases. Drug Research 64: 638-646.
  37. Nazzaro F, Fratianni F, Martino LD, Coppola R, Feo VD (2013) Effect of Essential Oils on Pathogenic Bacteria. Pharmaceuticals 6: 1451-1474.
  38. Yap PSX, Yiap BC, Ping HC, Lim SHE (2014) Essential Oils, A New Horizon in Combating Bacterial Antibiotic Resistance.The Open Microbiology Journal8: 6-14.
  39. Yang C, Chowdhury MAK, Hou Y, Gong J (2015) Phytogenic Compounds as Alternatives to In-Feed Antibiotics: Potentials and Challenges in Application. Pathogens 4: 137-156.
  40. Toroglu S, Akturk S, Dincer S, Keskin D (2016) Antimicrobial Activity of Five Different Extracts of Gladiolus italicus Miller from Turkey. Global Journal of Medicinal Plant Research 4: 1-5.
  41. Ghalem BR, Mohamed B(2008) Antibacterial activity of leaf essential oils of Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus camaldulensis. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 2: 211-215.
  42. Bassole IH, Juliani HR (2012) Essential Oils in Combination and Their Antimicrobial Properties, Molecules 17: 3989-4006.
  43. Hyldgaard M, Mygind T, Meyer RL (2012) Essential oils in food preservation: mode of action, synergies, and interactions with food matrix components. Frontiers in Microbiology 3: 1-24.
  44. Bozovic M, Pirolli A, Ragno R (2015) Mentha suaveolens Ehrh. (Lamiaceae) Essential Oil and Its Main Constituent Piperitenone Oxide: Biological Activities and Chemistry, Molecules 20: 8605-8633.
  45. Ghosh, A, Chowdhury, N, Chandra, G(2012) Plant extracts as potential mosquito larvicides. The Indian Journal of Medical Research 135: 581-598.
  46. Macuvele DLP, Sithole GZS, Cesca K, Macuvele SLP, Matsinhe, JV (2016)Aqueous extracts of Mozambican plants as alternative and environmentally safe acid-base indicators. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 23: 11639-11644.
Citation: Ololade ZS, Olawore NO, Olasoji SO, Anosike SO (2017) Chemical Composition and Bactericidal Activities of the Leaf Essential Oil of Eucalyptus maculata Hook. Nat Prod Chem Res 5:257.

Copyright: © 2017 Ololade ZS, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.