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Direct bioautography performed with luminescence gene-tagged bacteria enables almost real-time detection of antimicrobial compounds in plant extracts. This method for the detection of chamomile ( Matricaria recutita ) components with antibacterial effect against Bacillus subtilis soil bacteria was more sensitive than commonly used bioautographic visualization by staining with a tetrazolium salt. Some compounds had a strong inhibiting effect only via the bioluminescence measurement. Extraction of antibacterial components of chamomile flowers was most effective with 50% ethanol; slightly lower efficiency was achieved with acetone and methanol, and hexane was least effective. The results were confirmed by using luminescent Pseudomonas syringae pv. maculicola plant pathogen bacteria.

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The antibacterial effect of the components of clary sage (Salvia sclarea L.) and spearmint (Mentha spicata L. var. crispa (Bentham) Danert) was investigated by means of high-performance thin-layer chromatography-direct bioautography against the Gram-positive soil bacterium Bacillus subtilis (Bs) and Gram-negative bacteria such as a pepper pathogen Xanthomonas euvesicatoria (Xe), a luminescence gene-tagged Arabidopsis pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. maculicola (Psm) and a luminescent marine Aliivibrio fischeri (Af). Sclareol, linalool, and linalyl acetate were identified as active components of clary sage and carvone as the antibacterial substance in spearmint. Sclareol inhibited all tested bacteria, linalool and carvone showed antibacterial effect against all Gram-negative strains tested, while linalyl acetate only against Xe and Af. Some minor components of the clary sage essential oil also gave a zone of inhibition when tested on Gram-negative bacterium strains.

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