A wide range of fungal species is associated with post-harvest spoilage of grapes. However, Aspergillus carbonarius is the primary fungus responsible for the contamination of grapes with ochratoxin A, a mycotoxin causing several confirmed health effects to humans and animals. Aiming to find a method, safe for the consumers, to prevent post-harvest decay and ochratoxin A contamination of grapes, the potential use of essential oils as preservatives was investigated. Essential oils of Origanum dictamnus (dittany) , Origanum onites (oregano) , Origanum microphyllum (marjoram) , Thymbra capitata (thyme) , Satureja thymbra (savory) , Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) , Laurus nobilis (laurel) and Salvia officinalis (sage) were tested. The essential oil components were identified by GC/MS analysis. A first evaluation of the effectiveness of essential oils was performed in vitro , at a range of concentrations up to 300 μL L -1 . Based on the results of the in vitro tests, the four most effective essential oils ( O. dictamnus , O. onites , T. capitata and S. thymbra ) were tested on Sultana grapes, during post-harvest storage. The four essential oils tested, having the carvacrol and/or thymol as a common component, at a high concentration, significantly reduced, or even completely inhibited the growth of the fungus, in all treatments. As revealed from the results, the essential oils of O. dictamnus , O. onites and S. thymbra were the most effective, causing total inhibition on the growth of the fungus with a minimum concentration of 100 μL L -1 , followed by the essential oil of T. capitata , total effective with a minimum concentration of 200 μL L -1 . Essential oils of O. microphyllum , L. nobilis , S. officinalis and R. officinalis , although they had a significant effect on the growth of A. carbonarius , failed to inhibit its growth completely at any of the concentrations tested.

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