Antimicrobial properties of phyllanthus species
The antimicrobial activities of two species, Phyllanthus amarus and Phyllanthus odontodenius traditionally used for treatment of microbial diseases were investigated in comparison to Phyllanthus niruri. Aqueous (hot and cold water), methanol and dichloro methane: methanol (1: 1) crude extracts of the two plants were evaluated for in vitro activity against the test organisms, Candida albicans, Bacillus pumilus, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Micrococcus luteus, Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae. The organisms were also exposed to two standard antibiotics, 0.32mg/ml Gentamycin (for bacteria) and 0.30mg/ml Nystatin (for fungus). Disk diffusion method was employed to screen the antimicrobial activities of both the extracts and for the standard antibiotics. In vitro antimicrobial susceptibility activity was screened by using Nutrient Agar (NA). The methanol extracts of P. odontodenius showed the strongest activity against all the organisms both at 100mgllli and 50mgllli followed by dichloro methane: methanol (1:1), hot water and cold water extracts. The solvents in comparison to antibiotics showed 80% activity for methanol, 48% for CH2CL2: MeOH 1:1,43% in hot water and 28% for cold water. Crude extract profiling carried out on P. amarus, P. odontodenius and P. niruri using thin layer chromatography (TLC) indicated that the compounds had similar Rf values The species possess significant antimicrobial activity and confirms the justification by herbalists for the use of the extracts for treatment of measles, diarrhoea, pneumonia, malaria, common cold and other microbial diseases. Therefore, bioassay guided fractionation, isolation and characterization studies of compounds from the extracts will yield information on the active components and their mechanism of action.