Anti- and pro-oxidant properties of essential oils against antimicrobial resistance

Amanda Shen-Yee Kong, Sathiya Maran, Polly Soo-Xi Yap, Swee-Hua Erin Lim, Shun-Kai Yang, Wan-Hee Cheng, Yong-Hui Tan, Kok-Song Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The rapid evolution of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has remained a major public health issue, reducing the efficacy of antibiotics and increasing the difficulty of treating infections. The discovery of novel antimicrobial agents is urgently needed to overcome the challenges created by AMR. Natural products such as plant extracts and essential oils (EOs) have been viewed as potential candidates to combat AMR due to their complex chemistry that carries inherent pro-oxidant and antioxidant properties. EOs and their constituents that hold pro-oxidant properties can induce oxidative stress by producing reactive oxygen species (ROS), leading to biological damage in target cells. In contrast, the antioxidant properties scavenge free radicals through offsetting ROS. Both pro-oxidant and antioxidant activities in EOs represent a promising strategy to tackle AMR. Thus, this review aimed to discuss how pro-oxidants and antioxidants in EOs may contribute to the mitigation of AMR and provided a detailed description of the challenges and limitations of utilizing them as a means to combat AMR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1819
Number of pages12
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • antimicrobial resistance
  • antioxidant
  • essential oil
  • pro-oxidant
  • ROS

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