Vibriosis, caused by Vibrio strains, is an important bacterial disease and capable of causing significant high mortality in aquatic animals. Essential oils (EOs) have been considered as an alternative approach for the treatment of aquatic bacterial diseases. In this study, we evaluated the antibacterial activity of essential oils (n = 22) or essential oil components (EOCs, n = 12) against Vibrio strains belonging to the harveyi clade. It was verified by three different approaches, e.g., (i) a bacterial growth assay, comparing Vibrio growth with or without EO(C)s at various concentrations; (ii) a vapor-phase-mediated susceptibility assay, comparing the effect of EO(C)s on bacterial growth through the vapor phase; and (iii) a quorum sensing-inhibitory assay, based on specific inhibition of quorum sensing-regulated bioluminescence. The results showed that, in the bacterial growth assay, EOs of Melaleuca alternifolia and Litsea citrata at 0.0001%, Eucalyptus citriodora at 0.01% can inhibit the growth of Vibrio campbellii BB120. These EOs can also prevent the growth of V. parahaemolyticus strains but need to be present at a higher concentration (0.1%). Moreover, in the vapor-phase-mediated susceptibility assay, EOs of M. alternifolia, L. citrata and E. citriodora can inhibit the growth of V. campbellii BB120 through their vapor phase. However, V. parahaemolyticus strains (CAIM170, LMG2850 and MO904) cannot be inhibited by these EOs. Additionally, in the quorum sensing-inhibitory assay, EOs of Mentha pulegium, Cuminum cyminum, Zingiber officinalis, and E. citriodora, all at 0.001%, have quorum sensing-inhibitory activity in V. campbellii BB120. Taken together, our study provides substantial evidence that usage of the major components, individually or in combination, of the tested commercial EOs (extracted from M. alternifolia, L. citrata, and E. citriodora) could be a promising approach to control V. campbellii BB120.
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