Lemon Myrtle Oil - A Natural Alternative to Paraben-Based Preservatives?

Posted by: Nila | 06 Sep, 2022

Beyond its application as a natural lemon fragrance, native Australian Lemon Myrtle Oil offers outstanding antimicrobial properties.

A study published in 2002 demonstrated that at 1% concentration, Lemon Myrtle Oil offers broad antimicrobial performance, comparable to phenoxyethanol (PE), across common fungi, yeast, and bacteria (see Table 1). 

 

Phenoxyethanol

MIC90%

Lemon Myrtle Oil

MIC90%

Gram Negative

Escherichia coli

0.32

0.03

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

1.00

2.00

MRSA

Not available

0.20

Klebsiella pneumonia

Not available

0.20

Gram Positive

Staphylococcus aureus

0.75

0.05

Staphylococcus epidermidis

0.64

Not available

Fungus

Aspergillus niger

0.32

0.01

Yeast

Candida albicans

0.32

0.03

Table 1: Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil - Antimicrobial Potential 

Phenoxyethanol (PE) is more effective against gram-positive bacteria than gram-negative.  While Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil is effective against a range of gram-positive and negative bacteria, yeast and mold.  

In a different study, published in 2003, Lemon Myrtle Oil was tested against 13 bacteria, including MRSA, and 8 fungi in comparison with other essential oils. Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil demonstrated stronger antimicrobial efficacy than  both citral alone and Tea Tree Oil. These in vitro tests show that Lemon Myrtle Oil has strong antimicrobial activity against the organisms Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), Aspergillus niger, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Propionibacterium acnes. Significant antimicrobial activity was observed against E. coli with an MIC of 0.03%. 

In vitro cytotoxicity testing conducted by the same researchers revealed both Lemon Myrtle Oil and citral may have a toxic effect on human cell lines when concentrations exceed 1%. To learn more about the safety of Lemon Myrtle Oil in personal care formulations, visit our blog on this topic.

Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil may be a suitable - and natural - alternative to paraben-based preservatives in personal care applications. 

To access our documentation on Lemon Myrtle Oil, including our IFRA Certificate and/or Allergen Statement, click here.

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