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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Assessment of inhibitory potential of essential oils on natural mycoflora and Fusarium mycotoxins production in wheat

Renata-Maria Sumalan1, Ersilia Alexa2* and Mariana-Atena Poiana2

Author Affiliations

1 Banat’s University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine from Timisoara, Faculty of Horticulture and Forestry, Calea Aradului 119, Timisoara, RO 300645, Romania

2 Banat’s University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine from Timisoara, Faculty of Food Processing Technology, Calea Aradului 119, Timisoara RO 300645, Romania

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Chemistry Central Journal 2013, 7:32  doi:10.1186/1752-153X-7-32

Published: 14 February 2013



In the last years essential oils from different plants were used in the prevention of fungi and mycotoxins accumulation in cereals. The most attractive aspect derived from using of essential oils as seed grains protectants is due to their non-toxicity. This study was focused on assessment the inhibitory effect of some essential oils: Melissa officinalis (O1), Salvia officinalis (O2), Coriandrum sativum (O3), Thymus vulgaris (O4) Mentha piperita (O5) and Cinnamomum zeylanicum (O6) against natural mycoflora and Fusarium mycotoxins production correlated with their antioxidants properties.


All essential oils showed inhibitory effect on fungal contamination of wheat seeds. This ability was dose-dependent. The highest inhibitory effect on Fusarium and Aspergillus fungi was recorded after 5 days of treatment. Fungi such as yeast (Pichia, Saccharomyces and Hyphopichia) were predominantly on seeds mycoflora after 22 days. Each treatment had a selective inhibitory effect on frequency of fungus genera. After 5 days of treatment the most fungicidal effect was recorder for O4, followed by O1. In terms of essential oils effect on mycotoxins development, the best control on fumonisins (FUMO) production was recorded for O6. The antioxidant properties of essential oils decreased in order: O4 > O1 > O6 > O5 > O2 > O3. Also, our data suggested that there is a significant negative correlation between antioxidant properties and seed contamination index (SCI), but there was not recorded a good correlation between antioxidant properties and FUMO content.


Based on proven antifungal and antimycotoxin effects as well as their antioxidant properties, the essential oils could be recommended as natural preservatives for stored cereals. The highest inhibition of fungal growth was noted after 5 days of treatment and decreased after 22 days.

Essential oils; Wheat; Antifungal activity; Fusarium mycotoxins; Antioxidant properties

Graphical abstract