Evaluation of Abelmoschus moschatus extracts for antioxidant, free radical scavenging, antimicrobial and antiproliferative activities using in vitro assays

Mir Z Gul, Lepakshi M Bhakshu, Farhan Ahmad, Anand K Kondapi, Insaf A Qureshi, Irfan A Ghazi
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011, 11: 64

BACKGROUND: Abelmoschus moschatus Medik. leaves and seeds are considered as valuable traditional medicine. The aromatic seeds of this plant are aphrodisiac, ophthalmic, cardio tonic, antispasmodic and used in the treatment of intestinal complaints and check queasiness. To give a scientific basis for traditional usage of this medicinal plant, the seed and leaf extracts were evaluated for their antioxidant, free radical scavenging, antimicrobial and antiproliferative activities.

METHODS: In this study, antioxidant, antimicrobial and antiproliferative activities of A. moschatus extracts were evaluated in a series of in vitro assay involving free radicals, reactive oxygen species and their IC50 values were also determined. The antioxidant activities of the seed and leaf extracts of A. moschatus were determined by total antioxidant, DPPH, and ferrous reducing antioxidant property (FRAP) methods. In addition, the antiproliferative activity was also evaluated using colorectal adenocarcinoma and retinoblastoma human cancer cell lines. Moreover, six bacterial reference strains, two gram-positive (Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus), four gram-negative (Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus vulgaris and Salmonella enterica paratyphi) and one fungal strain (Candida albicans) were used to evaluate its antimicrobial activity.

RESULTS: The results from this study showed that the antioxidant activities of A. moschatus as determined by the total phenol, flavonoids, total antioxidant and FRAP methods were higher in leaf than that of the seed extracts. On the other hand, the aqueous overnight seed extract (AMS-I) has shown significant radical scavenging activity as in 1, 1- Diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radical, superoxide and lipid peroxidation as compared to other seed and leaf extracts. The AMS-I and AML-IV have shown activity against six and seven microorganisms respectively. Simulteneously, AMS-IV and AML-IV have demonstrated potential antiproliferative activity against two human cell lines - Colorectal adenocarcinoma (COLO-205) and retinoblastoma (Y79).

CONCLUSION: The seed and leaf extracts of A. moschatus possess significant antioxidant activity and could serve as free radical inhibitors or scavenger, or substitute, probably as primary antioxidants. The plant possesses moderate antibacterial activity against bacterial strains used in this study. Hydroalcoholic seed and leaf extracts also exhibited antiproliferative activity against two human cancer cell lines. A. moschatus may therefore, be a good candidate for functional foods as well as pharmaceutics.

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