Chemical composition and cytotoxicity of extracts of marjoram and rosemary and their activity againstSporothrix brasiliensis

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Motivated by increasing reports of antifungal resistance in human and animal sporotrichosis, this study evaluated the chemical composition, cytotoxicity and anti-Sporothrix brasiliensis activity of extracts of marjoram (Origanum majorana) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis).


Ten (INF10) and 60 min (INF60) infusions, a decoction and a hydroalcoholic extract (HAE, 70%) were prepared from both plants (10% w/v). The extract composition was analysed by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry and the cytotoxicity was evaluated using a colorimetric assay in canine and feline kidney cells. Using a broth microdilution assay (CLSI M38-A2) adapted to the extracts, 30 Sporothrix brasiliensis isolates from dogs, cats and humans, and one Sporothrix schenckii were tested.

Results/Key findings.

The predominant phenolic compounds found in all extracts were 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid. Luteolin was also one of the predominant compounds, but only in the HAE of marjoram. Extracts of marjoram maintained cell viability in concentrations up to 2.5 mg ml−1 for the feline cell line and up to 10 mg ml−1 for the canine cell line, whereas in rosemary, the cell viability for both kidney lines was maintained with concentrations up to 5 mg ml−1. The activity of rosemary extracts was low or absent. Among the marjoram extracts, HAE was highlighted and had fungistatic activity against Sporothrix brasiliensis (MIC5040 mg ml−1), including in all itraconazole-resistant isolates. S. schenckiisensu stricto was sensitive to marjoram extracts (MIC/MFC ≤5 mg ml−1), with the exception of INF10.


These findings support the potential usefulness of the HAE of marjoram in the treatment of sporotrichosis.

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