Open Access Research article

Composition and cytotoxic activity of essential oils from Xylopia aethiopica (Dunal) A. Rich, Xylopia parviflora (A. Rich) Benth.) and Monodora myristica (Gaertn) growing in Chad and Cameroon

Issakou Bakarnga-Via124, Jean Baptiste Hzounda1, Patrick Valere Tsouh Fokou1, Lauve Rachel Yamthe Tchokouaha15, Magali Gary-Bobo4, Audrey Gallud4, Marcel Garcia4, Lucain Walbadet2, Youssouf Secka2, Pierre Michel Jazet Dongmo3, Fabrice Fekam Boyom1* and Chantal Menut4*

Author Affiliations

1 Antimicrobial Agents Unit, Faculty of science, University of Yaoundé I, P.O Box 812, Yaoundé, Cameroon

2 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Adam Barka-Abeche, P.O. Box 1173, Abeche, Chad

3 Faculty of Science, University of Douala, P.O. Box 24157, Douala, Cameroon

4 IBMM, UMR 5247, Equipe Glyco et nanovecteurs pour le ciblage thérapeutique, Université de Montpellier 1, Faculté de Pharmacie, 15 Avenue Charles Flahault, BP 14491, 34093 Montpellier, France

5 Institute of Medical Research and Medicinal Plants Studies (IMPM), Yaoundé, Cameroon

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:125  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-125

Published: 4 April 2014



Cancer has become a global public health problem and the search for new control measures is urgent. Investigation of plant products such as essential oils from Monodora myristica, Xylopia aethiopica and Xylopia parviflora might lead to new anticancer therapy. In this study, we have investigated the antineoplastic activity of essential oils from fruits of these plants growing in Chad and Cameroon.


The essential oils obtained by hydrodistillation of fruits of Monodora myristica, Xylopia aethiopica and Xylopia parviflora collected in Chad and Cameroon were analyzed by GC-FID and GC-MS and investigated for their antiproliferative activity against the breast cancer cell line (MCF7).


Overall, monoterpenes were mostly found in the six essential oils. Oils from X. aethiopica and X. parviflora from Chad and Cameroon mainly contain β-pinene at 24.6%, 28.2%, 35.7% and 32.9% respectively. Monodora myristica oils from both origins contain mainly α-phellandrene at 52.7% and 67.1% respectively. The plant origin did not significantly influence the chemical composition of oils. The six essential oils exerted cytotoxic activity against cancer (MCF-7) and normal cell lines (ARPE-19), with more pronounced effect on neoplastic cells in the majority of cases. The highest selectivity was obtained with the essential oils of X. parviflora from Chad and Cameroon (5.87 and 5.54) which were more cytotoxic against MCF-7 than against normal cell line (ARPE-19) with IC50 values of 0.155 μL/mL and 0.166 μL/mL respectively.


Essential oils from fruits of Monodora myristica, Xylopia aethiopica and Xylopia parviflora have shown acceptable antineoplastic potency, and might be investigated further in this regard.

Essential oils; Cytotoxicity; MCF-7 cells; ARPE-19 cells; Monoterpene; Sesquiterpene