Listed in Issue 164


TAVARES and COLLEAGUES, Jardim Botanico/Departamento de Botanica, Calcada Martim de Freitas, Universidade de Coimbra, 3001-455 Coimbra, Portugal studied the composition, antifungal activity and cytotoxicity of the oils of Daucus carota L. subsp. halophilus (Brot.) A. Pujadas (Apiaceae), an endemic plant from Portugal.


Essential oils are known to possess antimicrobial activity against a wide spectrum of bacteria and fungi. Daucus carota L. is used since olden times in traditional medicine, due to recognized therapeutic properties, namely the antimicrobial activity of their essential oils.


In the present study the composition and the antifungal activity of the oils of Daucus carota L. subsp. halophilus (Brot.) A. Pujadas (Apiaceae), an endemic plant from Portugal, were evaluated. Moreover, their cytotoxicity in mouse skin dendritic cells at concentration showing significant antifungal activity was also evaluated. The oils were investigated by GC and GC-MS and the antifungal activity (MIC and MLC) were evaluated against yeasts, dermatophyte and Aspergillus strains. Assessment of cell viability was made by the MTT assay.


The results showed large variations in the compositions during ontogenesis, particularly in the amounts of elemicin that increased significantly in the ripe umbels (5.9% vs. 31.0%). The results also demonstrated that the oil with high amounts of elemicin, which have stronger antifungal activity, showed no cytotoxic effect, at concentrations ranging from 0.16 to 0.64 microl/ml, for as long as 24h.


It is possible to find appropriate doses of Daucus carota oil showing both antifungal activity and very low detrimental effect on mammalian cells.


Tavares AC, Goncalves MJ, Cavaleiro C, Cruz MT, Lopes MC, Canhoto J and Salgueiro LR. Essential oil of Daucus carota subsp. halophilus: composition, antifungal activity and cytotoxicity. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 119(1):129-34. Sep 2 2008.

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