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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The inhibitory effect of Mesembryanthemum edule (L.) bolus essential oil on some pathogenic fungal isolates

Beauty E Omoruyi1, Anthony J Afolayan2 and Graeme Bradley1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Fort Hare, Private Bag X1314, Alice 5700, South Africa

2 Department of Botany, University of Fort Hare, Private Bag X1314, Alice 5700, South Africa

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:168  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-168

Published: 23 May 2014



Mesembryanthemum edule is a medicinal plant which has been indicated by Xhosa traditional healers in the treatment HIV associated diseases such as tuberculosis, dysentery, diabetic mellitus, laryngitis, mouth infections, ringworm eczema and vaginal infections. The investigation of the essential oil of this plant could help to verify the rationale behind the use of the plant as a cure for these illnesses.


The essential oil from M. edule was analysed by GC/MS. Concentration ranging from 0.005 - 5 mg/ml of the hydro-distilled essential oil was tested against some fungal strains, using micro-dilution method. The plant minimum inhibitory activity on the fungal strains was determined.


GC/MS analysis of the essential oil resulted in the identification of 28 compounds representing 99.99% of the total essential oil. A total amount of 10.6 and 36.61% constituents were obtained as monoterpenes and oxygenated monoterpenes. The amount of sesquiterpene hydrocarbons (3.58%) was low compared to the oxygenated sesquiterpenes with pick area of 9.28%. Total oil content of diterpenes and oxygenated diterpenes detected from the essential oil were 1.43% and 19.24%. The fatty acids and their methyl esters content present in the essential oil extract were found to be 19.25%. Antifungal activity of the essential oil extract tested against the pathogenic fungal, inhibited C. albican, C. krusei, C. rugosa, C. glabrata and C. neoformans with MICs range of 0.02-0.31 mg/ml. the activity of the essential oil was found competing with nystatin and amphotericin B used as control.


Having accounted the profile chemical constituent found in M. edule oil and its important antifungal properties, we consider that its essential oil might be useful in pharmaceutical and food industry as natural antibiotic and food preservative.

Mesembryanthemum edule; Essential oil; GC/MS; Antifungal activity; Opportunistic fungi