Mitradev Pattoo, Vuyokazi Belewa and Benesh Munilal Somai* Pages 1 - 11 ( 11 )
Background: In both the developed and developing world, the mortality rates of people afflicted with cryptococcosis are unacceptably high despite the availability of antifungal therapy. The disease is caused by Cryptococcus neoformans (predominantly in immunocompromised individuals) and by Cryptococcus gattii. Globally the disease is estimated to cause around 600,000 deaths annually. Antifungal therapy is available, but in the developing world, may be unaffordable to many people, there is an increasing threat of resistance to the available drugs and our repertoire of antifungal drugs is very limited. Consequently, more research has been focusing on the use of medicinal plants as therapeutic agents. The originality of the current study is that although Tulbaghia violacea is a well-documented medicinal plant, the chemical composition of aqueous extracts and their antifungal potential against pathogenic yeasts are unknown. This is the first study that evaluates the chemical constituents of aqueous T. violacea root, leaf, rhizome and tuber extracts and their corresponding antifungal activities against C. neoformans and C. gattii.
Objective: The study aimed to investigate the phytochemical composition and antifungal potential of Tulbaghia violacea root, leaf, rhizome and tuber extracts against Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii.
Method: Roots, leaves, rhizomes and tubers were extracted with water only for 48 h at room temperature with continuous shaking. Extracts were filter sterilized, freeze-dried and, chemically analyzed for saponin, flavonol, phenolic and tannin content. Chemical constituents of each extract were also identified by GC-MS analysis. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of suitably diluted extracts of each plant part were also performed against C. neoformans and C. gattii, yeast pathogens commonly associated with HIV/AIDS sufferers.
Results: Phytochemical analysis showed different concentrations of saponins (between 1023 and 2896.73 μg/ml), phenolics (between 16.48 and 51.58 μg/ml) and tannins (between 122.30 and 543.07 μg/ml) present in the different extracts. No flavonols were detected. GC-MS analysis identified a complex mixture of phytochemicals composed predominantly of sulphide, pyran, furan and ketone containing compounds to be present in the different plant parts. All extracts were dominated by the presence of 4 H-pyran-4-one, 2,3-dihydro-3,5-dihydroxy-6-methyl, a pyran known to have antifungal properties. Although the root, leaf, rhizome and tuber extracts exhibited antifungal activities against both fungi, the rhizome and tuber extract were found to possess the lowest MIC’s of 1.25 mg/ml and 2.5 mg/ml against Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii respectively.
Conclusion: T. violacea extracts have a complex constituent of phytochemicals and each plant part exhibited a strong antifungal activity against C. neoformans and C. gattii. The rhizome and tuber extracts showed the highest antifungal activity against C. neoformans and C. gattii respectively. Thus, T. violacea aqueous extracts are strong candidates for further development into an antifungal chemotherapeutic agent.
Cryptococcus neoformans, Cryptococcus gattii, phytochemical analysis, antifungal, 4 H pyran-4-one DDMP
Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth