Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of fruit essential oils of Myrica gale, a neglected non-wood forest product


  • Kristina Ložienė Nature Research Centre; Institute of Biomedical Science, Vilnius University, Lithuania
  • Juozas Labokas Nature Research Centre, Lithuania
  • Vaida Vaičiulytė Nature Research Centre, Lithuania
  • Jurgita Švedienė Nature Research Centre, Lithuania
  • Vita Raudonienė Nature Research Centre, Lithuania
  • Algimantas Paškevičius Nature Research Centre, Lithuania
  • Laima Šveistytė Plant Gene Bank, Lithuania
  • Violeta Apšegaitė Nature Research Centre, Lithuania



The study aimed to establish the chemical composition of fruit essential oils of M. gale and test their activities against the selected pathogenic bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Acinetobacter baumannii), yeasts (Candida albicans, C. parapsilosis), fungi (Aspergillus fumigatus, A. flavus) and dermatophytes (Trichophyton rubrum, T. mentagrophytes). Fruit samples from natural (Western Lithuania) and anthropogenic (Eastern Lithuania) M. gale populations were studied separately. Essential oils were isolated from dried fruits by hydrodistillation and analysed by GC/FID and GC/MS methods; enantiomeric composition of α-pinene was established by chiral-phase capillary GC. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal/fungicidal concentration (MBC/MFC) of essential oils were determined using the broth microdilution method. Plants from the natural population with a humid marine climate accumulated significantly higher amounts of fruit essential oils (3.34±0.05%) than those from the anthropogenic population with a more continental climate (2.71±0.22%). In total, 39 volatiles including α-pinene (23.52–27.17%), 1,8-cineole (17.19–18.84%) and α-phellandrene (9.47–10.03%) as main compounds were identified. Chiral analysis demonstrated that (1S)-(–)-α-pinene prevailed over (1R)-(+)-α-pinene and amounted to 94.09–95.28% of all fraction of this monoterpene. The antimicrobial study in vitro indicated that C. parapsilosis, dermatophytes and Aspergillus fungi were more susceptible to fruit essential oils of M. gale, whereas E. coli and C. albicans were weakly inhibited even at the highest essential oil concentration. The strongest growth-inhibitory and bactericidal effect of sweet gale essential oil was established on S. aureus. This could be attributed to the major essential oil compounds with known antimicrobial activity, such as α-pinene, 1,8-cineole and a-phellandrene.

Keywords: Myrica gale; essential oil; chemical compounds; terpenes; enantiomers; antimicrobial.



How to Cite

Ložienė, K., Labokas, J., Vaičiulytė, V., Švedienė, J., Raudonienė, V., Paškevičius, A., Šveistytė, L., & Apšegaitė, V. (2020). Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of fruit essential oils of Myrica gale, a neglected non-wood forest product. Baltic Forestry, 26(1).



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