Antimicrobial Activity of some Pacific Northwest Woods against Anaerobic Bacteria and Yeast

Johnston WH, Karchesy JJ, Constantine GH, Craig AM
Phytotherapy Research:PTR, 2001


Extracts of woods commonly used for animal bedding were tested for antimicrobial activity. Essential oils from Alaska cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis), western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) and old growth Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) as well as methanol extracts of wood from these trees plus western red cedar (Thuja plicata) and ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) were tested for antimicrobial activity against anaerobic bacteria and yeast. The test microbes included Fusobacterium necrophorum, Clostridium perfringens, Actinomyces bovis and Candida albicans which are common to foot diseases and other infections in animals. The essential oils and methanol extracts were tested using a standardized broth assay. Only extracts of Alaska cedar and western juniper showed significant antimicrobial activity against each of the microbes tested. The essential oil of Douglas fir did show antimicrobial activity against A. bovis at the concentrations tested. The methanol extracts of the heartwood of Douglas fir and the sapwood of ponderosa pine showed no antimicrobial activity. The major chemical components of western juniper (cedrol and alpha- and beta-cedrene) and Alaska cedar (nootkatin) were also tested. In western juniper, alpha- and beta-cedrene were found to be active components. Nootkatin showed activity only against C. albicans. The inhibitory activity in Alaska cedar oil was high enough to justify further efforts to define the other chemical components responsible for the antimicrobial activity.


Johnston WH, Karchesy JJ, Constantine GH, et al. Antimicrobial Activity of some Pacific Northwest Woods against Anaerobic Bacteria and Yeast. Phytother Res. 2001;15(7):586-588.

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