Isolation and identification of antibacterial and antifungal compounds from selected Kenyan medicinal plants
Ocharo, Caroline Mogere
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Many antibiotics have been rendered ineffective due to resistance by disease causing bacteria and fungi, making a growing number of infections virtually untreatable. This has resulted in great difficulty in the control of diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, dysentry and pneumonia. Plants are a potential source of new antimicrobial agents. Vermonia amygdalina Del., V. lasiopus O. Hoffin. (Asteraceae), Lannea rivae (Chiov.) Sacl. (Anacardiaceae), Senna didymobotrya (Fresen) Irwin & Barneby (Caesalpiniaceae), and Erythrina abyssinica D.C. (Papilionaceae) are some of the plants used in traditional medicine in Kenya, against infectious diseases including boils, ringworms, skin diseases, gonorrhoea, stomach ache, eye and ear infections, and throat conditions, among others. The leaf, root and stem bark extracts of these plants were screened for activity against various strains of bacteria and fungi; and minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of Vernonia lasiopus were the most active against several bacterial and fungal strains including Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Candida albicans and Aspergilus niger. Lannea rivae root bark was the second most active. Chromatographic seperation of extracts of the two plants led to the isolation of seven pure compounds some of which showed mild antifungal activity. Four of these compounds were identified as acetylmelodorinol, b-amyrin, clionasterol and cycloeucalenol.
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