The essential oils of air-dried Centaurea sessilis and Centaureu armena obtained by hydrodistillation were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Forty and twenty components were identified in the essential oils and the main component of these taxons was beta-eudesmol in the ratios of 12.4%, and 19.3% from C. sessilis and C. armena, respectively. The antimicrobial activity of the isolated essential oil of the plants was also investigated. They showed moderate antibacterial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, but no antifungal activity was observed against two yeastlike fungi. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.