The aromatic fennel plant (Foeniculum vulgare Miller) is cultivated worldwide due to its high nutritional and medicinal values. The aim of the current study was to determine the effect of the application of bio-organic fertilization (BOF), farmyard manure (FM) or poultry manure (PM), either individually or combined with Lactobacillus plantarum (LP) and/or Lactococcus lactis (LL) on the yield, chemical composition, and antioxidative and antimicrobial activities of fennel seed essential oil (FSEO). In general, PM + LP + LL and FM + LP + LL showed the best results compared to any of the applications of BOF. Among the seventeen identified FSEO components, trans-anethole (78.90 and 91.4%), fenchone (3.35 and 10.10%), limonene (2.94 and 8.62%), and estragole (0.50 and 4.29%) were highly abundant in PM + LP + LL and FM + LP + LL, respectively. In addition, PM + LP + LL and FM + LP + LL exhibited the lowest half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of 8.11 and 9.01 μg mL−1, respectively, compared to l-ascorbic acid (IC50 = 35.90 μg mL−1). We also observed a significant (P > 0.05) difference in the free radical scavenging activity of FSEO in the triple treatments. The in vitro study using FSEO obtained from PM + LP + LL or FM + LP + LL showed the largest inhibition zones against all tested Gram positive and Gram negative bacterial strains as well as pathogenic fungi. This suggests that the triple application has suppressive effects against a wide range of foodborne bacterial and fungal pathogens. This study provides the first in-depth analysis of Egyptian fennel seeds processed utilizing BOF treatments, yielding high-quality FSEO that could be used in industrial applications.
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