Chemical Composition and Antibacterial Activity of Essential Oil of Cosmos bipinnatus Cav. Leaves from South Africa

Document Type: Research article


Department of Plant Sciences, University of the Free State, Qwaqwa Campus Private Bag X13, Phuthaditjhaba 9886 South Africa


The chemical composition of essential oils isolated from the leaves of Cosmos bipinnatus and its antibacterial activity were analyzed by GC-MS and microbroth dilution assay respectively. The essential oil extracted from this plant was predominantly composed of monoterpenes (69.62%) and sesquiterpenes (22.73%). The antibacterial assay showed that the oil had significant inhibitory effects against both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria isolates. The MIC of Gram-positive strains ranged between 0.16 and 0.31 mg/ml while those of Gram-negative bacteria ranged between 0.31 and 0.63 mg/ml. The Gram-positive bacteria were more susceptible to the essential oil than the Gram-negative bacteria. Most of the major components of this oil in other plants have been reported for antimicrobial activities. The antibacterial activity can be attributed to effects of the combination of several components of the oil. The results indicate that the C. bipinnatus might be exploited as natural antibacterial agent and have application in the treatment of several infectious diseases caused by these bacteria. Since this species is endemic to the eastern Free State, the plant could be collected during its bloom and used efficiently in the management of bacterial infections in South Africa.