Eleven essential oils, namely, Cananga odorata(Annonaceae), Cupressus sempervirens (Cupressaceae), Curcuma Longa (Zingiberaceae), Cymbopogon citratus (Poaceae), Eucalyptus globulus (Myrtaceae), Pinus radiata (Pinaceae), Piper crassinervium (Piperaceae), Psidium guayava(Myrtaceae), Rosmarinus officinalis(Lamiaceae), Thymus x citriodorus (Lamiaceae) and Zingiber officinale (Zingiberaceae), were characterized by means of GC and GC–MS and evaluated for their food functional ingredient related properties. These properties were compared to those of Thymus vulgaris essential oil, used as a reference ingredient. Antioxidant and radical-scavenging properties were tested by means of 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assay, b-carotene bleaching test and luminol photochemiluminescence (PCL) assay. In the DPPH assay, C. odorata, C. citratus, R. officinalisand C. longa showed major effectiveness, with a radical inhibition ranging from 59.6 ± 0.42–64.3 ± 0.45%. In the b-carotene bleaching test, C. odorata (75.5 ± 0.53%), R. officinalis (81.1 ± 0.57%) and C. longa (72.4 ± 0.51%) gave the best inhibition results. Similar results were obtained for the same essential oils in the PCL assay. Antimicrobial properties were obtained on five food-spoilage yeasts: Candida albicans ATCC 48274, Rhodotorula glutinis ATCC 16740, Schizosaccharomyces pomb e ATCC 60232, Saccharomyces cerevisiae ATCC 2365, Yarrowia lypoliticaATCC 16617 . C. citratus and T. x citriodorus were the most effective against the tested strains. Suggestions on relationships between chemical composition and biological activities are outlined.
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