Secondary plant metabolites are eco-friendly compounds with a wide range of biological activities and a variety of potential applications in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food, agriculture and other fields. Despite recent advances in chemical synthesis, plants remain the most powerful and under-investigated source of bioactive molecules. Essential oils and other herbal extracts are mixtures of various constituents with different properties and different mechanisms of action, which offer some opportunities for developing novel strategies to treat infectious diseases.
Over-prescribing and unregulated use of antibiotics have increased the prevalence of drug-resistant pathogens resulting in a serious threat to the successful treatment of microbial diseases. Therefore, exploration of novel treatments to reduce multi-drug resistant microbial is a major and important field of research. Plant’s essential oils have received a great deal of scientific attention for potential antimicrobial activities which have been found to also result in reduced side effects. While some of the oils used on the basis of their reputed antimicrobial properties have well documented in vitro activity, such as clove, thyme, lavender, and tea tree, it is likely there are many more with potential for such activity.
Previously, methods to report such antimicrobial activity have described detecting the activity of a single compositionally unspecified oil against only one or two isolates of the microorganism, using nonstandard methods. Nowadays, they report on the activity of well-characterized essential-oil samples or individual components against a wider range of genera and species, often testing a larger number of isolates using widely-applied or standardized methods, such as disc-diffusion or agar- and broth-dilution methods for antibacterial activity. Methods to detect antimicrobial activity have continued to develop and this Research Topic aims to capture these developments.
The antimicrobial activities depend on chemical compositions and the quantity of each individual compound, therefore chemical characterization of essential oils are crucial in order to describe a volatile profile and identify the molecules responsible for exerting an antimicrobial effect. In general, the aldehydes, phenols, and alcohols appear to be the most active component groups, and the terpene hydrocarbons and methyl esters appear to be the least active. Due to their low toxicity, good pharmacokinetics, and multitarget action, essential oils represent important alternatives to synthetic chemicals as promising drugs for use in therapy.
The aim of this Research Topic is to bring together original research and review articles that provide relevant information on the development of extraction and characterization strategies and assess mixtures of essential oils that show signs of potential antimicrobial activities and applications in pharmaceuticals. Submissions should consider, but are not limited to:
- Volatile compounds with new perspectives on their use,
- Development in the analysis and advancement in the extraction methods of essential oils,
- Development in the analysis for screening of antimicrobial activity of essential oils and/or their constituents,
- Evaluation of the synergistic effect of these essential oils and their constituents with conventional antibiotics,
- Evaluation of the activity of these essential oils and/or their constituents in multi-drug resistance models.
All the manuscripts submitted to the collection will need to fully comply with the Four Pillars of Best Practice in Ethnopharmacology
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