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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Phytochemical constituents, nutritional values, phenolics, flavonols, flavonoids, antioxidant and cytotoxicity studies on Phaleria macrocarpa (Scheff.) Boerl fruits

Ma Ma Lay1*, Saiful Anuar Karsani12, Sadegh Mohajer1 and Sri Nurestri Abd Malek1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2 Univerisity of Malaya Centre for Proteomics Research (UMCPR), University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:152  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-152

Published: 8 May 2014



The edible fruits of Phaleria macrocarpa (Scheff.) Boerl are widely used in traditional medicine in Indonesia. It is used to treat a variety of medical conditions such as - cancer, diabetes mellitus, allergies, liver and heart diseases, kidney failure, blood diseases, high blood pressure, stroke, various skin diseases, itching, aches, and flu. Therefore, it is of great interest to determine the biochemical and cytotoxic properties of the fruit extracts.


The methanol, hexane, chloroform, ethyl acetate, and water extracts of P. macrocarpa fruits were examined for phytochemicals, physicochemicals, flavonols, flavonoids and phenol content. Its nutritional value (A.O.A.C method), antioxidant properties (DPPH assay) and cytotoxicity (MTT cell proliferation assay) were also determined.


A preliminary phyotochemical screening of the different crude extracts from the fruits of P. macrocarpa showed the presence secondary metabolites such as of flavonoids, phenols, saponin glycosides and tannins. The ethyl acetate and methanol extracts displayed high antioxidant acitivity (IC50 value of 8.15±0.02 ug/mL) in the DPPH assay comparable to that of the standard gallic acid (IC50 value of 10.8±0.02 ug/mL). Evaluation of cytotoxic activity showed that the crude methanol extract possessed excellent anti-proliferative activity against SKOV-3 (IC50 7.75±2.56 μg/mL) after 72 hours of treatment whilst the hexane and ethyl acetate extracts displayed good cytotoxic effect against both SKOV-3 and MDA-MB231 cell lines. The chloroform extract however, showed selective inhibitory activity in the breast cancer cell line MDA-MB231 (IC50 7.80±1.57 μg/mL) after 48 hours of treatment. There was no cytotoxic effect observed in the Ca Ski cell line and the two normal cell lines (MRC-5 and WRL-68).


The methanol extract and the ethyl acetate fraction of P. macrocarpa fruits exhibited good nutritional values, good antioxidant and cytotoxic activities, and merits further investigation to identify the specific compound(s) responsible for these activities.

Cytoxicity; Phytochemicals; Nutritional values; Flavonoids; Flavonol; Phenol; Antioxidants; Phaleria macrocarpa (Scheff.) Boerl fruits or P. macrocarpa