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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Antibacterial and antioxidant properties of the methanol extracts of the leaves and stems of Calpurnia aurea

Adeolu A Adedapo1*, Florence O Jimoh2, Srinivas Koduru2, Anthony J Afolayan2 and Patrick J Masika3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Veterinary Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

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

3 ARDRI, University of Fort Hare, Alice 5700, South Africa

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2008, 8:53  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-53

Published: 20 September 2008

Abstract

Background

In South Africa, Calpurnia aurea (Ait.) Benth is used to destroy lice and to relieve itches, to destroy maggots and to treat allergic rashes, particularly those caused by caterpillars. Antioxidants play an important role protecting against damage by reactive oxygen species. Plants containing flavonoids have been reported to possess strong antioxidant properties.

Methods

The antibacterial, antioxidant activities and phenolic contents of the methanol extracts of the leaves and stems of Calpurnia aurea were evaluated using in vitro standard methods. Spectrophotometry was the basis for the determinations of total phenol, total flavonoids, flavonols, and proanthocyanidins. Tannins, quercetin and catechin equivalents were used for these parameters. The antioxidant activities of the stem extract of Calpurnia aurea were determined by ABTS, DPPH, and ferrous reducing antioxidant property (FRAP) methods. Laboratory isolates of 10 bacteria species which included five Gram-positive and five Gram-negative strains were used to assay for antibacterial activity of this plant.

Results

The results from this study showed that the antioxidant activities of the stem extract of Calpurnia aurea as determined by the total phenol, flavonoids, and FRAP methods were higher than that of the leaves. On the other hand, the leaf extract of the plant has higher level of total flavonols and proanthocyanidins. The leaf extract also has higher radical scavenging activity as shown in 1, 1-Diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), and 2,2¿-azinobis-3- ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid (ABTS) assay. The leaf extract showed activity against seven of the bacterial organisms.

Conclusion

The results from this study indicate that the leaves and stem extracts of Calpurnia aurea possess antioxidant properties and could serve as free radical inhibitors or scavenger or, acting possibly as primary antioxidants. Although, the antibacterial properties of Calpurnia aurea are not as effective as the standard drugs- Chloramphenicol and Streptomycin, they still possess some activity against bacterial strains used in this study. Calpurnia aurea may therefore be a good candidate for functional foods as well as pharmaceutical plant-based products.