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Phytochemical Screening and Biological Activities of Some Species of Alpinia and Convolvulus Plants



Nouf M. Al-Enazi
 
ABSTRACT

Background and Objective: The safety, low toxicity and clinical effectiveness of naturally occurring compounds increased the attention of researchers to the biological activity of plants. Accordingly, the current study was carried out to determine the antimicrobial and anticancer activities of three different species of Alpinia and Convolvulus plants. Materials and Methods: Phytochemical contents and biological activity of Alpinia calcarata (A. calcarata), Alpinia purpurata (A. purpurata), Alpinia zerumbet (A. zerumbet), Convolvulus arvensis (C. arvensis), Convolvulus austro-aegyptiacus (C. austro-aegyptiacus) and Convolvulus pilosellifolius (C. pilosellifolius) extracts were determined. Antimicrobial, anticancer and toxic activities were assessed against clinically-isolated test organisms, different cell lines and laboratory animals, respectively. Results: The investigated plants contain carbohydrates and/or glycosides, flavonoids, sterols and/or triterpenes, protein and/or amino acids, tannins and alkaloids. Anthraquinones was only detected in A. calcarata, A. purpura, A. zerumbet. All plant extracts exhibited very good antibacterial, antifungal and antitumor activities. However, the C. austro-aegyptiacus exhibited remarkable antimicrobial activity. The C. arvensis and C. pilosellifolius demonstrated antitumor activity (6.1±03) and (16.4±0.3), respectively higher than the antitumor activity of vinblastine sulphate (30.3±1.4) against CACO (colorectal carcinoma). Nevertheless, A. purpurata showed antitumor activity against HCT-116 (colon carcinoma), 4.3±1.3, similar to the vinblastine sulphate. Conclusion: Results of current study indicated that the alcoholic extracts of Alpinia sp. and Convolvulus sp. plants have antimicrobial and anticancer activities. Moreover, C. arvensis and C. pilosellifolius possess an excellent anticancer activity and should be used as therapeutic antitumor agents against colorectal carcinoma.

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  How to cite this article:

Nouf M. Al-Enazi , 2018. Phytochemical Screening and Biological Activities of Some Species of Alpinia and Convolvulus Plants. International Journal of Pharmacology, 14: 301-309.

DOI: 10.3923/ijp.2018.301.309

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=ijp.2018.301.309
 
Received: November 29, 2017; Accepted: January 05, 2018; Published: March 15, 2018


Copyright: © 2018. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the creative commons attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

INTRODUCTION

Plant secondary metabolites have been used for centuries to cure various ailments. The uses of plant-derived compounds in traditional medicines have proved to be clinically effective and are much preferred due to their fewer side effects than drugs of synthetic origin1,2. The family Zingiberaceae is a medicinally important family since it contains numerous plants with high potential biological activities. The genus Alpinia, the largest genus of family Zingiberaceae3, possess many bioactive compounds against many harmful microbes and different diseases like cancer, diabetes, ulcer and many neural disorders4.

The members of Alpinia have complex chemical profiles including flavonoids, alkaloids, steroids, tannins and other polyphenolics5. A great depth of antimicrobial activities has been reported from Alpinia species especially A. galanga which contain more bioactive compounds than the other species6. However, Alpinia calcarata has been used in traditional medicines as anti-inflammatory, analgesic and carminative agent7. Another species with very important traditional use is Alpinia purpurata which contains different phytochemical contents with various biological activities, flavonoids isolated from this plant may corroborate the potential medicinal value of this species8. Alpinia zerumbet also has medicinal use because it contains many active compounds especially flavonoids, essential oils, tannins, phenols and alkaloids which are responsible for some of its therapeutic effects9.

The Convolvulaceae is another important family which contains large number of medicinal plants used in treatment of many diseases in folklore medicine10. Many compounds have been isolated and identified from different members of the genus Convolvulus. Convolvulus arvensis, Convolvulus austro-aegyptiacus and Convolvulus pilosellifolius are of the most commonly used species of genus Convolvulus due to their use in folklore medicine especially in Asia and Africa11,12. Keeping all the previous information in mind, the current study was carried out to screening the phytochemical constituents of Alpinia and Convolvulus species and to determine their antimicrobial and anticancer activities.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Plant materials: The plant samples of Alpinia calcarata Roscoe, Alpinia purpurata K. Schum, Alpinia zerumbet Burtt and Smith, Convolvulus arvensis L., Convolvulus austro-aegyptiacus L. and Convolvulus pilosellifolius Desr. were collected from different localities of Saudi Arabia desert during April, 2016. The plants were identified by Dr. Jacob Thomas, Assistant Professor of Taxonomy, Botany and Microbiology Department, College of Science, King Saud University and compared with the published data13. Voucher specimen (KSU. NO. 6012, 6016, 5019, 8122, 5026, 5022, 5024) was kept in the herbarium of Botany and Microbiology Department. The plant samples were air-dried in shade, reduced to fine powder, packed in tightly dark closed containers and stored for phytochemical and biological studies.

Phytochemical analysis
Qualitative phytochemical analysis:
The air dried powders of A. calcarata, A. purpurata, A. zerumbet, C. arvensis, C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius were separately subjected to phytochemical screening according to the standard published methods14.

Quantitative phytochemical analysis: Three hundred gram powder of air-dried aerial parts of each plant was extracted by percolation in 1 L of ethanol (95%) (4 times ×4 days) till complete exhaustion10. The total ethanol extract was concentrated under reduced pressure at 35°C.

The percentage yield of each plant extract was calculated according to the dry weight. The determination of moisture, total ash, acid insoluble ash and water soluble ash were carried out according to published method15. Quantitative analysis of percentage primary and secondary metabolites were carried out according published methods for carbohydrates16, proteins16, lipids17, phenols16, flavonoids18, alkaloids19 and tannins16-19.

Antimicrobial activity
Test organisms:
Different clinically isolated microorganisms, Escherichia coli (RCMB 010056), Klebsiella pneumonia (RCMB 0010093), Proteous vulgaris (RCMB 010085), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (RCMB 0100243-5) and Salmonella typhimurium (RCMB 006 (1) ATCC 14028), Bacillus subtilis (RCMB 015 (1) NRRL B-543), Staphylococcus aureus (RCMB 010027), Staphylococcus epidermidis (RCMB 010024), Stroptococcus pyogenes (RCMB 010015), Aspergillus fumigatus (RCMB 02564), Candida albicans (RCMB 05035), Candida tropicalis (RCMB 05042), Geotrichum candidum (RCMB 05096), Microsporum canis (RCMB 0834) and Trichophyton mentagrophytes (RCMB 0925) were obtained from the Microbiology Laboratory, Regional Centre for Mycology and Biotechnology, Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt and used as test organisms.

Antimicrobial assay: The antibacterial and antifungal activities of ethanolic extract of A. calcarata, A. purpurata, A. zerumbet, C. arvensis, C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius were determined using the well-diffusion method20.

Determination of minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC): The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was determined by micro-dilution method using serially 2-fold diluted plant extracts21. The MIC of A. calcarata, A. purpurata, A. zerumbet, C. arvensis, C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius extracts were determined by dilution of concentrations from 0.0-10 mg mL–1. Equal volume of each extract and nutrient broth were mixed in a test tube. The lowest concentration (highest dilution) of the plant extract that produced no visible microbial growth (no turbidity) when compared with the control tubes were regarded as MIC.

Antitumor activity: The antitumor activity of A. calcarata, A. purpurata, A. zerumbet, C. arvensis, C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius was determined against lung carcinoma (A-549), colorectal carcinoma (CACO), colon carcinoma (HCT-116), cervical carcinoma (Hela), larynx carcinoma (HEp-2), hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG-2) and breast carcinoma (MCF-7) cell lines. The tumor cell lines were suspended in medium at concentration 5×104 cell/well in Corning® 96-well tissue culture plates and then incubated for 24 h. The plant extracts were added into 96-well plates and vehicle controls with media and 0.5% DMSO were run for each 96 well plate as a control. After incubation for 24 h, the numbers of viable cells were determined by the MTT assay method22.

Plants toxicity
Animals:
Swiss albino mice of both sex (25-32 g) and male Wistar rats (1700-220 g) were obtained from the animal house of King Saud University. Animals were kept in standard polypropylene cages and maintained under standard conditions (temperature 23±1.0°C, humidity 55±10%, 12 h light/12 h dark cycle). They were fed standard pellet diet with water ad libitum and allowed to adapt to the laboratory environment for 1 week before experimentation (procedures and protocols approved by the Research Ethics Committee in KSU No.241/2017).

Preparation of the extracts for biological studies: The A. calcarata, A. purpurata, A. zerumbet, C. arvensis, C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius extracts were freshly suspended in distilled water just before administration with the aid of few drops of Tween 80.

Acute toxicity (LD50) test: Alcohol extracts of the plants were given orally to the animal for determined median lethal dose (LD50) as described in literature23.

Sub-chronic toxicity: For carrying the sub-chronic toxicity, rats were divided into 7 groups each of 6 rats. The 1st group was administrated with the vehicle orally and left as a control, while the groups (from 2-7) were separately administrated the total alcohol extracts in a dose of 200 and 400 mg kg–1 for 15 days. After the examination period, the collected sera were used for determination of liver and kidney enzymes as published23. Results obtained estimated as liver and kidney markers.

Statistical analysis: All values were expressed as Mean±SD. Statistical analysis was done by using SPSS 10 (IBM Corp. Released 2010. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, version 19.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp). The statistical significant differences between the two means were assessed by unpaired student'sí test. Differences at p<0.05, 0.01 and 0.001 were considered statistically significant24.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS

Phytochemical studies: The chemical constituents of the A. calcarata, A. purpurata, A. zerumbet, C. arvensis, C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius were qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed using different analytical and spectroscopic methods, the results are recorded in Table 1-3.

Qualitative phytochemical analysis: The phytochemical screening of the plant extracts indicated the presence of carbohydrates and/or glycosides, flavonoids, sterols and/or triterpenes, protein and/or amino acids, tannins and alkaloids in A. calcarata, A. purpurata, A. zerumbet, C. arvensis, C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius (Table 1). However, anthraquinones was detected in A. calcarata, A. purpurata, A. zerumbet only (Table 1). The variations of phytochemical constituents could be attributed to numerous environmental factors25.

Quantitative phytochemical analysis: Quantitative analysis of the plant-alcoholic extracts showed variations in yield percentage (Table 2).

Table 1: Qualitative phytochemical analysis of Alpinia calcarata , A. purpurata , A. zerumbet , Convolvulus arvensis , C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius
(+) present, (-) absence

Table 2: Percentage of yield, primary and secondary metabolites of the plants under investigations
Values are the mean of triplicates±standard deviation

Table 3: Quantitative phytochemical analysis of Alpinia calcarata , A. purpurata , A. zerumbet , Convolvulus arvensis C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius
Values are the mean of triplicates±standard deviation

The highest yield percentage, 17.29± 0.12, 16.23± 1.29 and 15.9± 1.51, was obtained by A. zerumbet, C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius, respectively while the lowest yield, 14.61± 0.35 and 14.88±1.59 was obtained by A. purpurata and C. arvensis, respectively (Table 2). The variations in the yields percentages are relevant to the presence and/or potentiality of active materials.

The results showed that the percentage of primary and secondary metabolites were varied and there was a significant difference according to the genus and species (Table 3). Moreover, the percentage of phenolic compounds was noticeably high in all the plants which indicate that the plant has potential biological activity and could be used as a source of useful drugs for treatment of infectious diseases26.

The results of pharmacopoeia constants exhibited slight percentage variations among the plants (Table 3). The moisture contents ranged from 5.17±1.29 (A. calcarata) to 10.15±2.01 (C. pilosellifolius). The relatively high moisture content of the plants is attributed to their desert habitat. The highest total ash percentage (10.34±1.54) was obtained in C. arvensis. The water-soluble ash percentage was also variable which indicate that the active principles in the plants are high. Determination of those constants is valuable to assisting the quality of plant material27.

Antimicrobial activity: The antimicrobial results revealed that the alcoholic extract of A. calcarata, A. purpurata, A. zerumbet, Convolvulus arvensis, C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius have very good antimicrobial activity (Table 4, 5).

Among all the plant extracts, C. austro-aegyptiacus exhibited remarkable antibacterial and antifungal activities similar to the activity produced by standard antibiotic, gentamycin, ampicillin and amphotericin B against Microsporum canis, Geotrichum candidum, Proteous vulgaris, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus (Table 4). The minimum inhibitory concentration results revealed that the MIC of the extract of A. zerumbet (0.002 mg mL–1) against Microsporum canis was similar to the amphotericin B (Table 5). The potential activity of Convolvulus austro-aegyptiacus is attributed to its phytochemical constitutes26.

Anticancer activity: The results detected antitumor activity of A. calcarata, A. purpurata, A. zerumbet, C. arvensis, C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius against lung carcinoma (A-549), colorectal carcinoma (CACO), colon carcinoma (HCT-116), cervical carcinoma (Hela), larynx carcinoma (HEp-2), hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG-2) and breast carcinoma (MCF-7) cell lines (Table 6).

Table 4: Antimicrobial activity of Alpinia calcarata , A. purpurata , A. zerumbet , Convolvulus arvensis C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius
Values are the mean of triplicates±standard deviation

Table 5: Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of Alpinia calcarata , A. purpurata , A. zerumbet , Convolvulus arvensis , C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius

With the exception of C. arvensis and C. pilosellifolius, all the extracts showed IC50 values higher (lower antitumor activity) than the vinblastine sulphate (Table 6). Interestingly, the extract of C. arvensis and C. pilosellifolius possessed antitumor activity (IC50 = 6.1±03) and (IC50 = 16.4 ±0.3), respectively higher than the antitumor activity of vinblastine sulphate (IC50 = 30.3±1.4) against CACO (colorectal carcinoma). Moreover, A. purpurata showed antitumor activity against HCT-116 (colon carcinoma), IC50 = 4.3±1.3, similar to the vinblastine sulphate, IC50 = 3.5±0.2 (Table 6). The obtained results strongly validate the using of medicinal plants in traditional medicine10.

Plants toxicity: The results of the alcoholic plant extracts LD50 showed that the A. calcarata, A. purpurata, A. zerumbet, C. arvensis, C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius are characterized by a low degree of toxicity. The obtained results indicated that different doses up to 5000 mg kg–1 did not produce any symptoms of acute toxicity and none of the animal died during 24 h of observation. Accordingly, it was believed that the oral LD50 of the tested extracts was higher than 5000 mg kg–1 and the extract is considered safe28.

The non-toxic nature of the alcohol extracts is well supported by the results of sub-chronic toxicity study. Oral dosing of the tested extracts, 400 mg kg–1, for 14 days did not show any significant effect on the levels of ALT, AST, total bilirubin, total proteins, albumin, urea and creatinine in their sera as compared to control (Table 7). The serum transaminase level is most widely used as a measure of hepatic injury, due to its ease measurement and high degree of sensitivity. It is useful for the detection of early damage of hepatic tissue29. Since the activity of ALT and AST are specific assayable liver enzymes, their normal levels in serum of rats treated for 14 days means that the investigated alcohol extracts are not hepatotoxic. Urea and creatinine are the most sensitive biochemical markers employed in the diagnosis of renal damage. In kidney damage, there will be retention of urea and creatinine in the blood, therefore, marked increase in serum urea and creatinine are indications of functional damage to the kidney30. By these indicators, the investigated alcohol extracts are therefore, not nephrotoxic in rats.

From current findings, it was clear that this A. calcarata, A. purpurata, A. zerumbet, C. arvensis C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius can be used for the treatments of infectious daises which caused by microorganisms in addition to possible use in treatment of some cancer cells with no limitation for their use because they are very save for human use and have no toxicity on liver and kidney functions.

Table 6: IC50 values of Alpinia calcarata , A. purpurata , A. zerumbet , Convolvulus arvensis , C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius on viability of different cell lines
Values are the mean of triplicates±standard deviation

Table 7: Effect of the total alcohol extracts of plants under investigations on liver and kidney functions
All extracts (400 mg kg–1) was administrated to rats for 14 days, n = 10, sera were collected and different enzymes were measured. Tb: Total bilirubin, Tp: Total protein, Al: Albumin, Ur: Urea, Cr: Creatinine

CONCLUSION

The selected 6 plants under study proved to have very promising effects against microorganisms and some cancer cell lines (lung carcinoma, colorectal carcinoma, colon carcinoma, cervical carcinoma, larynx carcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma and breast carcinoma cell lines).

Plants belonging to genus Convolvulus (C. austro-aegyptiacus, C. arvensis and C. pilosellifolius were better than those belonging to genus Alpinia. C. austro-aegyptiacus is the best active plant with higher plant potential antimicrobial activity against Gram-negative, Gram-positive and fungi better than the activity produced by standard antibiotic while C. arvensis and C. pilosellifolius showed better antitumor activity much better than the vinblastine sulphate.

A. purpurata showed antitumor activity against HCT-116 (colon carcinoma similar to the vinblastine sulphate. All plants are save for human use because they showed no toxicity on laboratory animals when they give orally for 15 days.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT

This study discovers that the ethanol extracts of A. calcarata, A. purpurata, A. zerumbet, C. arvensis, C. austro-aegyptiacus and C. pilosellifolius have a significant antimicrobial and anticancer activities. However, the anticancer activity of Convlovulus arvensis and Convolvulus pilosellifolius against colorectal carcinoma (CACO) cell lines was remarkably better than the vinblastine sulphate. These results strongly declare the significance of the medicinal plants and their valuable use for treatment of many diseases.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The author is grateful to Dr. Reham El-Meligy, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, Desert Research Center, Cairo, Egypt, for her kind assistant and help through the pharmacological studies.

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