The chemical composition of the essential oil obtained from the needles of Pinus caribaea by hydrodistillation was analyzed by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry. A total of twenty nine compounds, representing 93.8% of the oil were identified. The major constituents of the essential oil were β-phellandrene (67.9%), β-caryophyllene (10.2%) and α-pinene (5.4%). High concentration of β-phellandrene in the oil suggests its usefulness as fragrance. The antibacterial activity of the essential oil was evaluated using disc diffusion method. The essential oil exhibited moderate activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa at minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 1000 ug/ml and no activity againstCandida albican, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus typhi, Bacillus aureus andProteus mirabilis. The antibacterial activity of the oil against P. aeruginosasuggests its potential use as a remedy for food-borne diseases.
Key words: Pinus caribbea, Pinaceae, essential oil, β-phellandrene, β-caryophyllene, antibacterial.
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