African Journal of
Microbiology Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Microbiol. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0808
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJMR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 5211

Full Length Research Paper

Chemical composition, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of the essential oils of Tulbaghia violacea Harv L.F.

O. S. Soyingbe1, A. O. Oyedeji2, A. K. Basson1, M. Singh3 and A. R. Opoku1*
1Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Zululand, Private Bag X1001, KwaDlangezwa 3886, South Africa. 2Department of Chemistry, Walter Sisulu University, Private Bag X1 Mthatha, 5117, South Africa. 3Department of Biochemistry, University of Kwazulu-Natal (Westville Campus), Durban 4000, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 19 April 2013
  •  Published: 30 April 2013


Tulbaghia violacea Harv L.Fis one of the many medicinal plants used by Zulu traditional healers to treat respiratory tract diseases. Essential oil extracted from the rhizomes of T. violacea was evaluated for its chemical composition, antioxidant and antibacterial activities. The gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis of the oils revealed the main constituents of the essential oils of T. violacea to be 2,4-dithiapentane (51.04%), ρ-xylene (20.59%), chloromethylmethyl sulfide (8.69%), σ-xylene (7.38%), thiodiglycol (6.43%) and ρ-xylol (5.88%). While the oil showed weak antioxidant activity, the antimicrobial activity of the essential oil carried out on both Gram positive and negative bacteria (using the agar disk diffusion method) showed that the oil of T. violacea was effective against 8 of the 16 microorganisms tested, with MIC values ranging from 2.5 to 5.0 mg/ml. The oil had low (1218 and 1641 µg/ml) cytotoxicity levels against HEK293 and HepG2 cell lines, respectively. It is apparent that the bioactivity of the essential oil of T. violacea contributes to the use of this plant in folk medicine.


Key words: Essential oil, antioxidant, antibacterial, Tulbaghia violacea.