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Research Article

Antibacterial and Antifungal Activities of Launaea nudicaulis (Roxb.) And Launaea resedifolia (Linn.)

Samia Rashid, Mohammad Ashraf , Shahida Bibi and Rubeen Anjum
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Antibacterial and antifungal activities of some extracts of Launaea nudicaulis and L. resedifolia have been determined by standard methods. Methanol extract of L. nudicaulis and L. resedifolia showed 18.5 and 20.5 mm zones of inhibition against B. subtilis, respectively, as determined by disc diffusion method. Ethanol and DMSO extracts also exhibited antibacterial activities against E. coli and S. aureus but to lower degrees. When these activities were measured by well-method, all these extracts exhibited high activities against K. pneumoniae and low against E. coli compared with the control. Antifungal activity was determined by measuring the linear growth in slants on 4th day of incubation against an Aspergilus spp. Methanolic extracts of L. nudicaulis and L. resedifolia at 0.209 mg/ml levels exhibited 45±6 mm and 37±6 mm linear growth which decreased to 22±5 mm and 28±4 mm, respectively, at 0.838 mg/ml concentration.

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Samia Rashid, Mohammad Ashraf , Shahida Bibi and Rubeen Anjum , 2000. Antibacterial and Antifungal Activities of Launaea nudicaulis (Roxb.) And Launaea resedifolia (Linn.). Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 3: 630-632.

DOI: 10.3923/pjbs.2000.630.632



Cholistan desert covers a large area of about 26,000 It is situated between 27°, 42’ and 29°, 45’ north latitudes and 69°, 52’ and 75°, 24’ east latitudes. Cholistan desert is bound by Bahawalnagar on north-east, on the west side by Bahawalpur and eastern side by Great Indian desert. Although the vegetation of the area is scarce, some endemic plant species exist which are commonly used by local peoples of Cholistan desert against various diseases (Akram et al., 1991).

Launea nudicaulis (Roxb.) locally called Jangli booti is a medicinal plant. It’s milky material is taken during the constipation. Leaves are used to relieve fever in children, in the treatment of itches of skin, cuts, ulcers, swellings, bilious fever, eczema eruptions and rheumatism. It’s roots are used in toothache. Launea resedifolia (Linn) O.Kuntze occurs frequently in the bushes of Calligonium polygonoides on the top of sand dunes and inter-dunal areas and has medicinal properties (Bhandari, 1988; Baquar, 1989).

The compounds isolated and characterized from these two plants include taraxasterol and taraxeryl acetate (Prabhu and Venkateswarlu, 1969), glycoside comprised of xylose and a moiety of aglycon (Sharma et al., 1980), lupeol acetate, lupeol, e-sitosterol, e-sitosterol glucoside, luteolin, aprgenin-7-O-glucoside and luteolin-7-O-glucoside (Abdel-Salam et al., 1982), flavones from L. nudicaulis were apigenin-7-glucoside, 7-gentiobiosides, 7-rutinosides, 7,3’- diglucoside, 7,4’-diglucoside and 7-gentiobioside-4’-glucoside (Mansour et al., 1983), aesculetin, cichoriin and luteolin-7-O-glucoside from L. nudicaulis (Sarg et al., 1986), 3,4-dihydrocopoletin, esculetin, cichoriin, luteolin-7-O-glucoside, stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol, friedelin, lupeol and beta-sitosterol glucosides (Sarag et al., 1987), apigenin, dihydroxy coumarin, luteolin-7-O-glucoside and epigenin-5-O-glucoside from L. resedifolia (Saleh et al., 1988), triterpens, alpha-amyrin, moretenol and lupeol, their acetate derivatives as well as their esters, Δ7-stigmasterol and its 3-O-glucoside from L. resedifolia (Abd-el-Fattah et al., 1990) and luteolin, luteolin-7-O-glucosides, luteolin-7-O-rhamnoside, apigenin-7-O-glucoside, aesculetin and its 7-O-glucoside (cichoriin), ferulic acid and methyl caffeoate (Giner et al., 1992). In continuation of our objectives to explore plants of Cholistan desert for biological activities, the present studies were designed to demonstrate antibacterial and antifungal activities of the extracts of L. nudicaulis and L. resedifolia. This is a preliminary study and work is ongoing in the isolation and characterization of active components.

Materials and Methods

Young plants were collected from Cholistan desert for these studies. Fresh plants were air dried for more than a week and used for the extraction. Bacterial samples like Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli were obtained from HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry, University of Karachi. Klebsiella pneumoniae cultures were a kind gift from C.M.H., Bahawalpur. Aspergilus spp. was isolated in the laboratory and used without further characterization. Pre-prepared antibiotics discs were obtained from the manufacturers and used as positive controls.

70 g ground plant sample was taken in a soxhlet apparatus and extracted with methanol for 8-10 hours or was soaked in methanol for 8 days. Solvent was evaporated by rotary evaporator. The residue obtained was re-suspended in various solvents (methanol, ethanol, water and dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO)). Various grades of stock solutions were prepared and their biological activity determined. Antibacterial and antifungal activities were determined by standard methods as compiled by Farhana (1999).

Results and Discussion

Results show that maximal antibacterial activity, as performed by disc diffusion method, is exhibited by methanolic extract of L. nudicaulis especially against B. subtilis, i.e., 18.5 mm zone of inhibition compared with that of solvent, i.e., <7.0 mm (Table 1). This antibacterial activity is concentration dependent; that is, higher at 1 mg/disc and lower at 0.5mg/disc. Ethanol and DMSO extracts are also effective against the B. subtilis (10-14.5 mm zone of inhibition). DMSO at both these concentrations remained effective equally against the three species. The least effective extract proved again methanol extract against the E. coli which showed little activity (7.5-8.5 mm) compared with the control (<7 mm). Similar profiles have been recorded for L. resedifolia (Table 1).

When the same extracts were tested against E. coli and K. pneumoniae by well method, similar profiles were demonstrated (Table 2). Maximum zone of inhibition (20-22.5 mm) of ethanol extract was found against K. pneumoniae which remained un-tested in the disc diffusion method. For K. pneumoniae the control values were upto 25 mm zone of inhibition.

Table 1:
Antibacterial activity of some extracts of L. nudicaulis and L. resedifolia after 18-24 hours of incubation by disc diffusion method. Results are mean of 3 independent experiments. (n = 3, S.D.< ±3.5 mm)

Table 2:
Antibacterial activity of some extracts of L. nudicaulis and L. resedifolia after 18-24 hours of incubation by well-method. Results are mean of 2 independent experiments. (n = 2, S.D.< ±4.5 mm)

Table 3:
Antifungal activity of methanolic extracts of L. nudicaulis and L. resedifolia against Aspergilus spp. Gravison (known antifungal) dissolved in water acted as positive control(50mg/ml). Results are mean of 2-3 independent determinations. (n=2-3, ±S.D.)

Ethanol extract of L. nudicaulis also proved effective against E. coli and 12-15.5 mm zone of inhibition was seen, whilst DMSO and methanol extracts remained least effective at lower concentrations. Similar findings have been recorded for L. resedifolia. This clearly demonstrated that all the extracts were effective against the tested bacteria. Nevertheless, both these methods presented a clear picture that crude extracts posessed antibacterial activity.

Antifungal activity was determined by the inhibition of linear fungal growth in the slants of Aspergilus spp (locally isolated but not further characterized) on 3rd and 4th day of incubation at 37±2°C (Table 3). The standard antifungal drug Gravison at 50mg/ml levels inhibited 100 percent growth. Methanol extracts of L. nudicaulis and L. resedifolia at different concentrations inhibited fungal growth; 50 percent fungal growth inhibition has been observed by L. nudicaulis at 0.209 mg/ml and 0.838 mg/ml concentrations, from 45±6 to 22±5 mm, respectively, compared with the solvent (Table 3). Similar profiles have been observed for L. resedifolia wherein these inhibitory values are 37±6 (0.209 mg/ml) and 28±4 mm (0.838 mg/ml).

Similar results have been reported in the literature. Shabana et al. (1988) have determined the antibacterial and antifungal activity of 60 desert plants. Extracts of plant species belonging to 23 families were tested on 5 species of bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococus pyogenes, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and three species of fungi (Microsporum gypseum, Aspergilus niger, Candida albicans). Of these plants, 43 species were active against one or more microorganisms and 7 species showed a broad spectrum of activity. Extracts of 3 plants showed significant effects on P. aeroginosa which was resistant to common antibiotics and 5 plants were effective against M. gypseum.

In summary, the present study reveals some useful information about the biological activity of extracts of L. nudicaulis and L. resedifolia. Further work is suggested on the active components be isolated and their structure determined. Work is in progress on these aspects.


Thanks are due to Dr. M. Arshad, CIDS (Cholistan Institute of Desert Studies, Bahawalpur), for plant samples and colleagues in HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry, Karachi, for encouragement and providing training in these assays during the 2nd National Workshop on Bioassays.

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