Cinnamon essential oil and eugenol as alternatives to control bacteria in processed foods?

By Alessandra Millezi, Professor of Basic, Technical and Technolgical IF Catarinense, Campus Concórdia, SC, Brazil

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The search for a way to reduce the action of biofilms, sources of bacterial contamination in food processing, motivated the researchers to undertake the study entitled “Antibacterial and anti-biofilm activity of essential oil of cinnamon and eugenol”, published in Ciência Rural (Vol. 49, No. 1). An experiment was conducted to evaluate the anti-biofilm activity of cinnamon essential oil (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) and the major compound eugenol in biofilms formed on polystyrene microplates. The concentrations of essential oil used ranged from 0.12%, 0.48%, 0.96% and 1.92%, using a control experiment based on previous studies by Stepanovic, et al. (2000), Burt (2004) and Millezi (2016). The eugenol concentration was 0.76%. The researchers counted the number of viable cells and the bacterial biomass of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Bacteria had a significant reduction of viable cells and biomass. The concentrations of 0.96% and 1.92% of cinnamon essential oil were the most effective.

For the researcher Alessandra Millezi, the results of the study can be used to develop a detergent to disinfect contaminated surfaces. In addition, cinnamon essential oil can also be used to prevent the formation of biofilms. Formed by microbial adherence to surfaces, these complex communities of bacteria are responsible for economic losses and health problems related to bacterial contamination in food processing.

The antibacterial properties of the essential oils of plants have already been studied by other researches. However, according to Alessandra, it is necessary to act more purposively in the area, through the suggestion of effective applications of solutions based on essential oils. The field of studies of essential oils is promising, because there are many plants and variables to research. “It should be taken into account, for example, that the biological activity of essential oils varies according to the type of microorganism and its application form, which may have a positive effect or not,” says Alessandra.


BURT, S. Essential oils: their antibacterial properties and potential applications in foods: a review. International Journal of Food Microbiology [online]. 2004, vol. 94, no. 3, pp. 223-253, ISSN: 0168-1605 [viewed 1 April 2019]. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2004.03.022. Available from:

MILLEZI, A.F., et al. Anti-biofim and Antibacterial Effect of Essential Oils and Their Major Compounds. Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plants [online]. 2016, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 624-631, e-ISSN: 0976-5026 [viewed 1 April 2019]. DOI: 10.1080/0972060X.2014.960262. Available from:

STEPANOVIC, S., et al. A modified microtiter-plate test for quantification of staphylococcal biofilm formation. Journal of Microbiological Methods [online]. 2000, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 175-179, ISSN: 0167-7012 [viewed 1 April 2019]. DOI: 10.1016/S0167-7012(00)00122-6. Available from:

To read the article, access it

MILLEZI, A.F., et al. Antibacterial and anti-biofilm activity of cinnamon essential oil and eugenol. Cienc. Rural [online]. 2019, vol. 49, no. 1, e20180314, ISSN: 0103-8478 [viewed 1 April 2019]. DOI: 10.1590/0103-8478cr20180314. Available from:

External link

Ciência Rural – CR: <>


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

MILLEZI, A. Cinnamon essential oil and eugenol as alternatives to control bacteria in processed foods? [online]. SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases, 2019 [viewed ]. Available from:


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