Essential oils from the inflorescence of Cymbopogon schoenanthus and C. nervatus growing in Northern Sudan were examined for their chemical composition, antiproliferative activity against human breast carcinoma and human colon adenocarcinoma cell lines, antioxidant activity (phosphomolybdenum, antiradical, reducing power, and ferrous chelating), and enzyme inhibition activity against acetylcholinesterase butyrylcholinesterase, tyrosinase, α-glucosidase, and α-amylase. In silico study on the inhibition of tyrosinase and α-amylase was also performed. Piperitone (59.1%) and isomers of para-menthadienols (35.3%) were the main compounds in C. schoenanthus and C. nervatus oils, respectively. Oil from C. nervatus possessed higher antioxidant activity than that from C. schoenanthus except for its metal chelating ability. Both oils showed high antiproliferative activity. In silico study showed that trans-p-mentha-2,8-dien-1-ol and piperitone (both isomers) revealed the best docking scores for α-amylase and tyrosinase, respectively. In conclusion, oils from these two Cymbopogon species could be new natural agents with functional properties for food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries. Practical applications: Recently, there is a growing tendency to replace synthetic oils by natural ones in the cosmetic, food, and pharmaceutical products. In this context, we investigated the chemical characterization and biological activities of two Cymbopogon species essential oils (C. schoenanthus (L.) Spreng. and C. nervatus). Antioxidant capacity, enzyme inhibition, and antiproliferative effects were tested for biological activities. Chemical characterization was identified by GC-MS. Based on our findings, the Cymbopogon species may be utilized as sources of natural bioactive agents in food industries.
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