Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activity of Crude Extracts of Rauvolfia caffra var. caffra (Apocynaceae) From Tanzania

  •  Efrem-Fred Njau    
  •  Jane Alcorn    
  •  Patrick Ndakidemi    
  •  Manuel Chirino-Trejo    
  •  Joram Buza    


As part of an effort to search for extracts and compounds with new antimicrobial efficacy to fight against bacterial resistance, the antibacterial activity of Rauvolfia caffra var. caffra (Sond.), a plant of family Apocynaceae used in Traditional Medicine in Tanzania, was investigated. Ethanol, methanol and water extracts from leaf, stem and root barks were tested against three species of bacteria namely Escherichia coli (ATCC 25922) (Gram -ve), Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 25923) (Gram +ve) and Enterococcus faecalis (ATCC 51299) (Gram +ve) using Agar-well diffusion assay method and minimum inhibitory concentration on Mueller-Hinton Agar plates. The extracting solvents were removed by vacuo evaporator to obtain gummy-like extracts. This was then dissolved in dimethylsulfoxide (10% DMSO). The DMSO without plant extracts was used as a negative control whereas Gentamicin® as the standard antibiotic was used as a positive control. The Zone of Inhibition (ZOI) measured in mm and Relative Inhibitory Zone Diameter (RIZD) was calculated. Results showed that R. caffra exhibited antimicrobial inhibitory activity at a range of 1.25 to 5.0 mg/ml with activity most prominent with methanol extract (ZOI of 28.33± 0.33 mm and RIZD of 95% for S. aureus; and ZOI of 26.66 ± 0.33 mm for E.coli and 19.0 ± 0.57 mm for E. faecalis at P< 0.05). To characterize further, the alkaloid from the root bark was extracted according to the standard procedure. The antioxidant activity of the alkaloids and ethanolic extracts was determined using 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and reducing capacity assays. The results indicated that alkaloid fraction of the root and 80% ethanolic extracts of stem bark exhibited high antioxidant activity. The phytochemical analysis indicated that R. caffra is rich in alkaloids, anthraquinones, anthocyanoides, flavonoids, saponins, tannis and reducing sugars. This study provides supportive evidence that methanol and ethanol extracts of R. caffra can be used as herbal medicine in control of E.coli, S. aureus and E. faecalis.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9671
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-968X
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: quarterly

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