Citrus medica cv. 'liscia' and C. medica cv. 'rugosa' are two taxa of citron, belonging to the biodiversity of South Italy, in particular of Amalfi Coast, in the Campania region. The chemical composition of the essential oils (EOs) from fruit peels of both C. medica cultivars was studied by gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analyses. In all, 100 compounds were identified, 82 for C. medica cv. 'liscia', accounting for 91.4% of the total oil, and 88 for C. medica cv. 'rugosa', accounting for 92.0% of the total oil. Monoterpene hydrocarbons are the main constituents in both oils of C. medica cv. 'liscia' (79.1%) and C. medica cv. 'rugosa' (80.2%). In both oils, limonene (67.2%-62.8%) and camphene (8.5%-10.9%) are the main constituents. The antimicrobial activity of the EOs was assayed against some bacterial strains: Bacillus cereus (DSM 4313), Bacillus cereus (DSM 4384), Staphylococcus aureus (DSM 25693), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC 50071), and Escherichia coli (DSM 8579). Low concentrations of C. medica cv. 'rugosa' EO showed an inhibitory effect on P. aeruginosa and higher concentrations inhibited more B. cereus (4384) and E. coli than S. aureus. The cytotoxicity of the EO was evaluated against SH-SY5Y cell line. The influence of the EO on the expression of adenylate cyclase 1 (ADCY1) was also studied. The antimicrobial activity registered confirm their traditional uses as food preserving agents and led us to hypothesize the possible use of these oils as antimicrobials. The alterations in ADCY1 expression suggested a role for limonene in effects on the central nervous system.
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