• Using Essential Oils to Improve Hand Sanitisers - Chromatography Investigates


Using Essential Oils to Improve Hand Sanitisers - Chromatography Investigates

Nov 24 2020

Coronavirus disease 2019 is with us for the foreseeable future. Even with the advent of a suitable vaccine and the rollout of a programme, it could take many years until the spread of the disease is under control and live can return to some semblance of normality. Without a vaccine or cure for the virus, we rely on containment methods to reduce the spread of the virus and disease. Governments and regulators are relying on three main strands, hand hygiene, social distancing and track and trace to bring the virus and disease under control to make sure hospitals are not overwhelmed.

Hand hygiene relies on good hand washing with soap and water or the use of a hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer are particularly important ion areas of the world where there is a less than reliable clean water supply. Can essential oils be used to improve hand sanitizers? That is the question that researchers from the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Lagos, Nigeria set out to discover. In a paper published in the Journal of Basic and Social Pharmacy Research, researchers describe how they formulated a hand sanitizer using fruit peel extract tested using gas chromatography.

Sanitizing the bugs away

Hand washing and using sanitizers are key precautions in the fight against Covid-19 and other bacterial and viral infections. Shops typically use sanitizers at their entrances where it would be inconvenient to supply fresh soap and water. Hand sanitizers are especially valuable in areas where washing with soap and water might be difficult or impossible.

Hand sanitizers typically fall into one of two categories – alcohol-based and alcohol-free. Some of the chemicals use din sanitizers are not always considered environmentally friendly, compounds like Triclosan are often used and are considered hormone disrupting chemicals and might also contribute to antimicrobial resistance. The researchers in Nigeria were interested in using essential oil from lime peel in a hand sanitizer.

Chromatography analyses the limes

It has been demonstrated that essential oils have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. The researchers in Nigeria extracted oils from the peel of unripe limes Citrus aurantifolia using steam distillation. They analysed the oils using gas chromatography mass spectrometry. The analysis of oils is discussed in the article, Analysis of Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Edible Oil to 0.5 ppb.

The researchers formulated a hand sanitizer using the essential oil and analysed its antimicrobial activity. They report that they were able to identify 24 out of the many compounds found by GC-MS in the oil. The formulated sanitizer worked well against some microbes such as Staphylococcus aureus but less well against E. coli. They conclude that there is immense potential in establishing the use of

antimicrobial herbal products as a measure to prevent the spread of communicable diseases like COVID-19.

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