Department of Microbiology, Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion – Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.
We investigated the antimicrobial effect of olive leaves against bacteria and fungi. The microorganisms tested were inoculated in various concentrations of olive leaf water extract. Olive leaf 0.6% (w/v) water extract killed almost all bacteria tested, within 3 h. Dermatophytes were inhibited by 1.25% (w/v) plant extract following a 3-day exposure whereas Candida albicans was killed following a 24 h incubation in the presence of 15% (w/v) plant extract. Olive leaf extract fractions, obtained by dialysis, that showed antimicrobial activity consisted of particles smaller than 1000 molecular rate cutoffs. Scanning electron microscopic observations of C. albicans, exposed to 40% (w/v) olive leaf extract, showed invaginated and amorphous cells. Escherichia coli cells, subjected to a similar treatment but exposed to only 0.6% (w/v) olive leaf extract showed complete destruction. These findings suggest an antimicrobial potential for olive leaves.