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Large Scale Screening of Ethnomedicinal Plants for Identification of Potential Antibacterial Compounds

Sujogya Kumar Panda
Yugal Kishore Mohanta
Laxmipriya Padhi
Young-Hwan Park
Tapan Kumar Mohanta
4,* and
Hanhong Bae
Department of Zoology, North Orissa University, Baripada, Odisha 757003, India
Department of Botany, North Orissa University, Baripada, Odisha 757003, India
School of Biotechnology, Yeungnam University, Gyeongsan 712749, Korea
Free Major of Natural Sciences, College of Basic Studies, Yeungnam University, Gyeongsan 712749, Korea
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Molecules 2016, 21(3), 293;
Submission received: 18 January 2016 / Accepted: 25 February 2016 / Published: 14 March 2016


The global burden of bacterial infections is very high and has been exacerbated by increasing resistance to multiple antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance leads to failed treatment of infections, which can ultimately lead to death. To overcome antibiotic resistance, it is necessary to identify new antibacterial agents. In this study, a total of 662 plant extracts (diverse parts) from 222 plant species (82 families, 177 genera) were screened for antibacterial activity using the agar cup plate method. The aqueous and methanolic extracts were prepared from diverse plant parts and screened against eight bacterial (two Gram-positive and six Gram-negative) species, most of which are involved in common infections with multiple antibiotic resistance. The methanolic extracts of several plants were shown to have zones of inhibition ≥ 12 mm against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. The minimum inhibitory concentration was calculated only with methanolic extracts of selected plants, those showed zone of inhibition ≥ 12 mm against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Several extracts had minimum inhibitory concentration ≤ 1 mg/mL. Specifically Adhatoda vasica, Ageratum conyzoides, Alangium salvifolium, Alpinia galanga, Andrographis paniculata, Anogeissus latifolia, Annona squamosa, A. reticulate, Azadirachta indica, Buchanania lanzan, Cassia fistula, Celastrus paniculatus, Centella asiatica, Clausena excavate, Cleome viscosa, Cleistanthus collinus, Clerodendrum indicum, Croton roxburghii, Diospyros melanoxylon, Eleutherine bulbosa, Erycibe paniculata, Eryngium foetidum, Garcinia cowa, Helicteres isora, Hemidesmus indicus, Holarrhena antidysenterica, Lannea coromandelica, Millettia extensa, Mimusops elengi, Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, Oroxylum indicum, Paederia foetida, Pterospermum acerifolium, Punica granatum, Semecarpus anacardium, Spondias pinnata, Terminalia alata and Vitex negundo were shown to have significant antimicrobial activity. The species listed here were shown to have anti-infective activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. These results may serve as a guide for selecting plant species that could yield the highest probability of finding promising compounds responsible for the antibacterial activities against a broad spectrum of bacterial species. Further investigation of the phytochemicals from these plants will help to identify the lead compounds for drug discovery.

1. Introduction

Medicinal plants have long been used to treat diseases [1,2]. Plants are commonly used as sources of new pharmaceuticals due to the presence of promising therapeutic compounds. Infectious diseases play a significant role in the deaths of millions of people worldwide, in part due to the mutagenic nature of the bacterial genome. Moreover, the exchange and uptake of plasmids among bacteria results in the development of multiple antibiotic resistant strains. Antimicrobials from different plants have enormous therapeutic potential and lesser side effects than synthetic antibiotics [3,4]. Accordingly, it is desirable and essential to develop an effective, safe and natural product to control multiple drug resistance (MDR) pathogens. Medicinal plants contain active principles generated by various natural metabolic processes and each plant species has its own metabolome that governs the presence of chemical components or bioactive molecules [5].
India is one of the richest countries in the world with regards to the genetic resource of medicinal plants [6]. The country has a wide range of topography and climate, which influences its vegetation and floristic composition. Worldwide searches for antimicrobial agents continued to focus on lower plants, fungi and bacteria [7]. There are many approaches that can be used to select plants of potential therapeutic interest [8]. Compounds can be identified through random, ethno- (including ethnobotanical, ethnomedical and ethnopharmacological) and ecological searches [9]. The random collection of plant samples from certain habitats with high species diversity (for example tropical rain forests) can be very useful for identification of novel chemical entities. However, this method is time consuming and labor intensive [10]. This kind of sampling is most likely to be used in industry to evaluate the industrial approach and most likely to be used for evaluating plants for bioactive compounds [9].
Several studies have provided evidence that the antimicrobial compounds isolated from different solvent extracts never provided the expected final output based on the activity of crude extracts and fractions [11,12]. This is probably because different plant metabolites often work in combination with other compounds to regulate microbial infections and may therefore not be effective alone [13]. For these reasons, we investigated a large number of plant species that have not yet been examined for their antimicrobial activities. The solvent (extraction agent) used to prepare phytopharmaceuticals must be able to dissolve all key phytoconstituents, which should be nontoxic and easy to remove through excretion. Traditional healers typically use aqueous extracts. The activity of effective aqueous extracts used by traditional healers is based on indirect effects that work by stimulating the immune system of the host rather than killing the pathogens [12]. Therefore, in the present study, an aqueous extract was used in the preliminary screening (agar diffusion method). It is believed that methanol could efficiently penetrate the cell membranes, permitting the extraction of high amounts of endocellular components in contrast to low polarity solvents such as chloroform and petroleum ether which can only extract extracellular material. Methanol primarily dissolves polar constituents together with medium and low polarity compounds extracted by cosolubilization. Therefore, the present investigation was conducted to evaluate both the aqueous and methanolic (80%) extracts of different plants belonging to a wide range of families based on random sampling. The result presented herein will be useful to further search of novel plants with antibacterial properties.

2. Results and Discussion

A total of 222 plant species (177 genera) collected from Mayurbhanj, Odisha, India were screened using the agar cup plate method. Screened samples were selected based on random screening and ethno medicinal uses [14]. Eight species of bacteria (two Gram-positive and six Gram-negative), mostly involved in common infections such as gastroenteritis, diarrhea, dysentery, skin diseases, and food and water contamination, were used to screen for antimicrobial activity. Two different solvents: methanol (80%) and water were used to prepare the crude extracts of different species for screening (Table 1).
The zones of inhibition shown by each plant are listed in Table 2. In total, 258 parts belonging to 222 species, 177 genus and 83 families (258 methanol extracts + 258 aqueous extracts) were tested for antibacterial properties. Of them, 125 leaf extracts, 19 bark extracts, eight whole plant extracts, four stem extracts, four root extracts, three fruit extracts, three rhizome extracts and one bulb part showed anti-bacterial activity. A total of 165 methanol extracts were found to be active against the tested strains (at least one or more bacterial strain) while the results with aqueous extracts were comparatively fewer (127).
About 146 methanol extracts showed antibacterial activity against Gram-positive (56.58%) bacteria, while 137 extracts were active against Gram-negative bacteria (53.10%) (Table 3). Similarly 89 aqueous extracts showed antibacterial activity against Gram-positive (34.49%) species followed by 102 extracts against Gram-negative bacteria (39.53%). Among them, 10 methanol extract samples were strongly inhibitory of the tested bacteria (zones of inhibition ≥ 20 mm). A total of 34 methanol extracts were moderately inhibitory to the test bacteria (zones of inhibition in between 15–20 mm) and 160 methanol extracts were weakly inhibitory (zone of inhibition < 15 mm) in comparison to the standard antibiotics gentamycin and ciprofloxacin (Table 3).
Aqueous extracts have commonly been used to test for antibiotic activity, especially in preliminary studies [15]. It is believed however that alcoholic solvents can efficiently penetrate cell membranes, permitting extraction of higher levels of endo-cellular components than solvents with lower polarity such as chloroform and petroleum ether [16]. In this way, alcohol dissolves primarily polar constituents together with medium and low polar compounds extracted by cosolubilization [17]. The antibacterial activities of methanolic extracts were found to be more potent than those of aqueous extracts. Gram-positive bacteria are already known to be more susceptible to plant extracts than Gram-negative bacteria [18,19]. These differences may be attributed to the fact that the cell wall in Gram-positive bacteria is single layered, whereas that of Gram-negative cells is multilayered [18,19]. Alternatively, the passage of the active compound through the Gram-negative cell wall may be inhibited due to rupture of ion channels. However, numerous plant extracts showed inhibition against Gram-negative bacteria. This is also in agreement with the results of Nikaido [20], who reported that Gram-negative bacteria have a hydrophilic membrane because of the presence of lipopolysaccharides. Thus, a small hydrophilic molecule can pass through the outer membrane. Conversely, this outer membrane also allows passage of lipophilic compounds and macromolecules. Understanding the permeation properties of the outer membrane of the microorganisms is prerequisite to know about the antibacterial activity of a solute. Thus, since the methanol extracts used in this study are partially soluble in water, they penetrate the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria and disturb the inside of the cell hampering cellular function and metabolism causing loss of cellular constituents, and eventually leading to cell death. Similar results have been reported in other studies as well [21,22].
Some of the important plant families that exhibited antimicrobial activities were Acanthaceae (four), Anacardiaceae (five), Apocyanaceae (four), Asteraceae (six), Ceasalpiniaceae (four), Combretaceae (seven), Ebenaceae (four), Euphorbiaceae (six), Fabaceae (eight), Myrataceae (four), Rubiaceae (four), Rutaceae (four), and Verbenaceae (four).
In total, 90 plants species (82 genera from 39 families) were unable to inhibit the tested pathogens. However, among these 25 families representing other species were active against the test pathogens, so in total plants from 15 families did not show antibacterial activity, namely Barleria strigosa Willd., Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum.) Heine, (Lf, Acantahceae); Agave sisalana Perr. ex Engl. (Lf, Agavaceae), Amaranthus spinosus L. (Lf, Amaranthaceae), Thevetia peruviana (Pers.) K. Schum. (Lf, Apocynaceae); Rauvolfia tetraphyla (L.) Benth. (Lf, Sd, Apocynaceae); Adenostemma lavenia (L.) Kuntze, Eclipta prostrata (L.), Sphaeranthus indicus L., Stereospermum chelonoides (L.f.) DC. (Lf, Asteraceae); Bixa orellana L. (Lf, Bixaceae); Bauhinia malabarica Roxb., B. purpurea L., B. roxhurghiana Voigt, Caesalpinia pulcherrima (L.) Sw., Saraca asoca (Roxb.) de Wilde (Lf, Caesalpiniaceae); Chenopodium album L. (Wp, Chenopodiaceae); Commelina suffruticosa Blume, Cyanotis tuberosa (Roxb.) Schult & Schult.f., Floscopa scandens Lour. (Lf, Commelinaceae); Argyreia nervosa (Burm. f.) Boj., A. speciosa (Burm. f.) Boj., Merrimia umbellate (L.) Hall. f., Operculina turpethum (L.) Silvo-Mano (Lf, Convolvulaceae), Ipomoea nil (L.) Roth. (Rt, Convolvulaceae); Cucumis sativus L., Cucurbita maxima Duch. ex Lam., Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standley, Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxb., Momordica dioica Roxb. ex Willd., Solena heterophylla Lour. (Lf, Cucurbitaceae); Dioscorea pentaphylla L. (Rh, Dioscoreaceae); Drosera burmannii Vahl., Drosera indica L. (Lf, Droseraceae), Euphorbia nivulia Buch.-Ham., Sebastiania chamaelea (L.) Muell. Arg., Trewia nudiflora L. (Lf, Euphorbiaceae); Flacourtia ramontchi L. Herit. (Lf, Flacourtiaceae), Atylosia scarabaeoides (L.) Benth., Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub., Crotalaria albida Heyne ex Roth., Crotalaria prostrata Rottl. ex Willd., Dalbergia lanceolaria L.f., Dalbergia pinnata (Lour.) Prain, Flemingia chappar Buch.-Ham.ex Benth., Indigofera prostrate Willd., Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet, Mucuna pruriens (L.) DC., Pueraria tuberose (Roxb. ex Willd.) DC., Sesbania bispinosa (Jacq.) W.F. Wight, Teramnus labialis (L.f.) Spreng., Uraria rufescens (DC.) Schindl. (Lf, Fabaceae); Derris indica (Lam.) Bennet (Sd, Fabaceae), Flemingia strobilifera (L.) R.Br. (Rt, Fabaceae); Exacum bicolor Roxb. (Lf, Gentianaceae); Vallisneria natans (Lour.) Hara (Hydrocharitaceae); Hypericum japonicum Thunb. Ex. Murray (Lf, Hypericaceae), Curculigo orchioides Gaertn. (Rt, Hypoxidaceae); Litsea monopetala Roxb. (Bk, Lauraceae); Utricularia bifida L. (Lf, Lentibulariaceae); Asparagus racemosus Willd., Iphigenia indica (L.) A Gray ex Kunth (Rt, Liliaceae); Ammannia baccifera L., Lawsonia inermis L. (Lf, Lythraceae); Hibiscus furcatus Willd., (Lf, Malvaceae); Mimosa pudica L., Xylia xylocarpa (Roxb.) Taub. (Lf, Mimosaceae); Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam., Ficus benghalensis L., F. religiosa L. (Lf, Moraceae), Musa paradisiaca L. (St, Musaceae); Embelia tsjeriam-cottam A. DC. (Lf, Myrsinaceae); Boerhavia diffusa L. (Lf, Nyctaginaceae); Jasminum arborescens Roxb., (Lf, Olacaceae); Oxalis corniculata L. (Wp, Oxalidaceae); Cymbopogon flexuosus (Nees ex Steud.) Wats., Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers., (Wp, Poaceae); Ziziphus rugosa Lam. (Lf, Rhamnaceae); Gardenia gummifera Lf, Haldinia cordifolia (Roxb.) Rids, Rubia cordifolia L. (Lf, Rubiaceae); Litchi chinensis Sonner (Lf, Sapotaceae), Solanum nigrun L., S. erianthum D. Don (Lf, Solanaceae); Symplocos racemosa Roxb. (Lf, Symplocaceae); Trapa natens L. (Lf, Trapaceae); Callicarpa macrophylla Vahl, Tectona grandis Lf (Lf, Verbenaceae), Costus speciosus (Koenig) Sm. and Curcuma amada Roxb.(Lf, Zingiberaceae). The methanol extracts from the diverse parts of selected plants that showed zones of inhibition greater than 12 mm against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria were further tested to determine the corresponding MIC values.
The broth dilution technique determines the antimicrobial activities measured as MICs (Figure 1). Four different bacteria viz. S. aureus, B. cereus, S. flexneri and V. cholerae were tested for this and results are reported in Table 4 (Figure 1). The calculated MIC of the majority of the strains was between 62–4000 µg/mL. In total, 65 extracts were tested with four bacteria (65 × 4 = 260), of which 79 hits exhibited MIC ≤ 500 µg/mL. The results in Table 4 indicate that most of the test strains show inhibition zones at a concentration ≤ 2000 µg/mL, while half of the extracts were active with a MIC ≤ 1000 µg/mL (Figure 1). MIC values lower than 250 µg/mL were also obtained for quite a few extracts. The lowest MIC value for B. lanzan (bark), C. fistula (leaf), N. arbortristis (bark), E. bulbosa (bulb) was obtained against S. aureus (MIC < 200 µg/mL). However, E. bulbosa (bulb) demonstrated the lowest MIC among all four test bacteria (22–125 µg/mL).
Unlike the agar cup method, the broth dilution results also shown that Gram-negative bacteria (S. flexneri and V. cholerae) are more resistant than Gram-positive (B. cereus and S. aureus) ones to the majority of extracts. Furthermore, it was observed that a few of the extracts are insensitive in the broth dilution method with MIC ≥ 5000 µg/mL, although they displayed inhibition zones in the agar cup method.
Ahmad et al. [23] and Valasraj et al. [24] tested 82 and 78 Indian medicinal plants, respectively, against several pathogenic and opportunistic microorganisms. Perumalsamy and Ignacimuthu [25] screened a series of 30 Indian medicinal plants using the disc diffusion method against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Srinivasan et al. [26] tested 50 medicinal plants belonging to 26 families for antimicrobial activity. Ahmad and Beg [27] also examined 45 Indian medicinal plants against different drug resistant bacteria and yeast. Ram et al. [28] screened the antimicrobial properties of 23 medicinal plants from Eastern Ghats, India against three bacterial species and one fungal species.
Kumar et al. [29] investigated a series of Indian medicinal plants against several bacteria and fungi. Parekh and Chanda [30] screened the antibacterial activity of aqueous and alcoholic extracts of 34 medicinal plants, belonging to 28 families against six bacteria from Enterobacteriaceae by agar well diffusion method. In all of these studies the ethanol and methanol extracts were more active than aqueous extracts for all tested plants. Antibacterial activity of alcoholic extracts of 15 Indian medicinal plants, against ESβL-producing multidrug resistant bacteria was studied by Ahmad and Aqil [31]. All these finding are in accordance with the results obtained in our experiments.
This study led to identification of plants from northern Odisha with antimicrobial activities against common pathogens. Some of the active species have already been shown to have similar activity. Additionally, the effects of some of these plants viz. Justicia adhatoda, Alangium salvifolium, Achyranthes aspera, Andrographis paniculata, Aristolochia indica, Azadirachta indica, Calotropis procera, Cassia fistula, Cassia occidentalis, Cassia tora, Carica papaya, Cleistanthus collinus, Croton roxburghii, Cleome viscosa, Hemidesmus indicus, Holarrhena antidysenterica, Leea indica, Pergularia demia, Moringa oleafera, Punica granatum, Sida acuta, Semecarpus anacardium, Spondias pinnata, Tamarindus indica, and Vitex negundo, were previously described by our group and other researchers [14,15,17,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,31]. Plants for which antibacterial activity is reported here for the first time include: Alpinia galanga, Vernonia squarrosa, Euonymus glaber, Garcinia cowa, Commelina paludosa, Erycibe paniculata, Indigofera cassoides, Millettia extensa, Pterocarpus marsupium, Tephrosia purpurea, Desmodium gangeticum, Acacia leucophloea, Ardisia solanacea, Eucalyptus citriodora, Ixora pavetta, Mitragyna parvifolia, Wendlandia tinctoria, Acronychia pedunculata, Scoparia dulcis, Solanum virginianum, Grewia elastica, Dalbergia volubilis, Litsea glutinosa, Antidesma ghaesembilla, Opuntia vulgaris and Biophytum reinwardti.
In the present study, high degrees of differences in susceptibility among dissimilar bacteria were observed. Typically each plant is different due to its unique phytoconstituents. While some are safe and effective for specific uses, others may not be. It is commonly believed that medicinal plants/drugs are safe and free from the side effects, however, this is not true for every case. Several medicinal plants can produce undesirable side effects and can even be very toxic [32]. A specific plant part may have various constituents and other parts may be toxic. To verify the biological activity and toxicity of medicinal plants, a basic screening step is very necessary for preliminary safety evaluation of plant extracts/compounds prior to further development and commercialization. Ideally, a cell line cytotoxicity study can rule out false positive bioactivity ensuing from a general toxic effect of the plant extract(s). As in the present study, we screened a large numbers of plants with different bacteria, we lack this toxicity study. On the other hand, many of our tested plants are used as ethnomedicine and their safety and efficacy are already reported. Nevertheless, more of the compounds should be subjected to animal and human studies to determine their effectiveness in whole organism systems, including in particular toxicity studies as well as an examination of their effects on beneficial microbiota [33].

3. Experimental Section

3.1. Study Area

The northern part of Orissa offers unique opportunities to study plants used by indigenous populations. About 62 ethnic tribal communities have been reported in the study area most of which inhabit the forest. These communities meet all of their needs including food and primary healthcare, from forest resources. Of 62 tribal communities, 30 (48%) and several aboriginals are found in the district of Mayurbhanj (the largest district of Odisha; area, 10,418 sq km; forest cover, 4392 sq. km; population, 2,513,895 based on a 2011 census) and Keonjhar (area, 8240 sq km; forest cover, 2525 sq. km; population, 18,017,733/2011 census). The Similipal Biosphere Reserve (SBR, 5569 sq. km) is located in the heart of the Mayurbhanj district, adjoining the Keonjhar district, and its rich biodiversity is known internationally (Figure 2). Both districts offer unique opportunities to study indigenous medicinal plants used by populations. The major local tribes live in this region includes Santal, Kolha, Bathudi, Bhumij, Munda and Gond are the major tribes whereas the Mankidia, Lodha, Kisan and Baiga are the minor tribal groups that inhabit the area. The Santal constitutes the largest tribal race and are scattered throughout the regions. The social, cultural and religious life of aboriginal people is influenced by the nature and natural resources available in and around their habitat which provide the food, medicine, shelter, and various other materials and cultural needs. Both districts are largely covered with forest containing different climatic zones and a wide range of vegetation. It is estimated that more than 2000 plant species are available from both districts; however it is not practical to screen all of them. To reduce the large species range, the study was focused only on medicinal herbs. We sampled mostly leaf materials (unless ethnomedicinal information was available regarding other parts), because leaves are a renewable resource and it is also easier to recollect leaves from the same plant for follow-up work. The identification and voucher specimen deposition of these medicinal plants was conducted at the Post Graduate Department of Botany, North Orissa University (Baripada, Odisha, India).

3.2. Processing

The bark, flowers, fruits, leaves, roots, seeds, aerial shoots and stems of plants were collected separately during field trips to different places in the Similipal Biosphere Reserve. The roots were dug out from the soil and the adhering soils were removed by shaking and washing. Healthy leaves were plucked from large plants and washed with sterile distilled water. Following collection, the healthy leaves were dried at low temperature without allowing the growth of any type of fungi, or bacteria. The dried leaves, roots and stems were powdered separately using a mortar and pestle then passed through a 40–60 mm mesh size sieve to obtain uniform powdered samples.

Preparation of Plant Extracts

A total of 100 g of each powdered sample was dissolved in 200 mL of sterile distilled water and 80% methanol separately in wide mouth bottles. The aqueous samples were then steamed with distilled water for 30 minutes, after which they were stored overnight. Next, the suspensions were filtered separately (Whatman No. 40 paper) and used to investigate the antimicrobial properties. The methanol extracts were dried in a rotary evaporator at 50 °C and stored in a refrigerator until further analysis.

3.3. Antibacterial Activity

3.3.1. Test Bacterial Strains

The antibacterial activity was tested against the strains Bacillus cereus (medical isolate), Staphylococcus aureus MTCC 1144, Escherichia coli MTCC 1098, Salmonella typhimurium MTCC 3216, Shigella sonnei, Shigella dysentriae, Shigella flexneri (medical isolates) and Vibrio cholerae MTCC 3904.

3.3.2. Maintenance of Bacteria

Bacterial cultures were maintained on nutrient agar (NA) slants at 4 °C. Bacterial species were activated by streaking culture from the slants onto Muller Hinton Agar (MHA) plates and then incubating overnight at 37 °C. Individual colonies were selected from each plate and transferred to nutrient broth, after which they were incubated for 1 day at 37 °C prior to the tests.

3.4. Antibiotics

Different antibiotics (Hi Media Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, India) at the given concentrations were used to determine the antibiotic sensitivity profile of the reference bacteria including Amikacin (Ak) 30 μg; Amoxicillin, (Aug) 10 μg; Ampicillin (A) 10 μg; Cefoxitin (Ctn) 10 μg; Ceftriaxone (Cez) 10 μg; Cephotaxime (Ce) 30 μg; Chloroamphinecol (Ch) 10 μg; Ciprofloxacin (C) 10 μg; Erythromycin (E) 15 μg; Gatifloxacin (Gf) 30 μg; Gentamicin (G) 10 μg; Levofloxacin (Lvx) 5 μg; Naladixic acid (Nal) 30 μg; Ofloxacin (Ofl) 5 μg; Polymyxin-B (Pb) 300 unit; Streptomycin (St) 10 μg; Tetracycline (Te) 10 μg and Vancomycin (Vn) 30 μg.

3.5. Sensitivity Tests

An antibiogram with commonly used antibiotics was conducted by the disc diffusion method [34,35]. The antibiotic sensitivity was tested in MHA plates (Himedia Laboratories, Mumbai, India). The test microbes were removed from the slants aseptically with inoculating loops and transferred to separate test tubes containing 5.0 ml of sterile distilled water. The inocula were added until the turbidity was 0.5 McFarland (108 CFU°). For each bacterial species, 1 mL of the test tube suspension was added to 15–20 mL of nutrient agar and transferred to an agar plate (90 mm diameter). After cooling the inoculated agar at room temperature for 25 min, the antibiotic sensitivity test discs were placed on the surface of the solid agar. The plates were incubated at 37 °C and then examined for zones of inhibition. The results are summarized in Table 5 below.

3.6. Agar Cup Method

The agar cup method was used to investigate the antibacterial activity of the extracts [14]. Overnight Muller Hinton Broth cultures of the test organisms were seeded onto MHA plates after which wells approximately 6 mm in diameter and 2.5 mm deep were made on the surface of the solid medium using a sterile borer. The plates were then turned upside down and the wells were labeled with a marker. Each well was subsequently filled with 50 µL of test sample. Sterile 80% methanol was used as negative control, while gentamicin and ciprofloxacin were used as positive controls. The plates were incubated at 37 °C for 24 h after which the plates were removed and zones of inhibition were measured using the Hi Media antibiotic scale and the results were tabulated. Extracts with zones of inhibition greater than or equal to 8 mm diameter were considered as positive.

3.7. Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC)

To determine the MIC, a microdilution technique was adopted using 96-well microtiter plates and tetrazolium salt, 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) as per the previous report [14]. The microplates were sealed and incubated at 37 °C at 130 rpm and observed for growth of the microorganisms.

4. Conclusions

The present study provides informative data regarding plants which have never been studied previously for the presence of antimicrobial activity against pathogenic bacteria. Further study is required to identify the active compounds, synergetic effects, toxicity, and safety of these plants and eventually clinical evaluations.


This work was carried out with the support of the Next-Generation Biogreen 21 Program (PJ011113), Rural Development Administration, Korea. Authors are like to thank the authorities of North Orissa University for providing facilities to conduct this work. We wish to express our profound gratitude to Anil Kumar Biswal and Akshaya Kumar Bastia (Dept. of Botany, North Orissa University, India) for identification of the plant samples. We are thankful to Santanu Kumar Jena, Bikash Chandra Behera, Kishore Mondal and Niranjan Patra for collection of plant specimens. SKP express appreciation to his M.Sc. students for their excellent technical assistance during the course of their PG studies.

Author Contributions

Sujogya Kumar Panda, Yugal Kishore Mohanta, Laxmipriya Padhi: Conception and designing of the research, acquisition of data, drafting the manuscript; Young-Hwan Park, Tapan Kumar Mohanta and Hanhong Bae: Revised the manuscript.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


The following abbreviations are used in this manuscript:
Colony forming unit
Multiple drug resistance
Muller-Hinton agar
Microbial type culture collection
Nutrient agar


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  • Sample Availability: Samples of the plant extracts are available from the authors.
Figure 1. Screening of plant extracts; (A) Plant extracts (methanol) against E. coli; (B) Plant extracts (water) against E. coli; (C) Plant extracts (methanol) against S. aureus; (D) Plant extracts (water) against S. aureus; (E) Plant extracts (methanol) against S. typhimurium; (F) Plant extracts (methanol) against V. cholera.
Figure 1. Screening of plant extracts; (A) Plant extracts (methanol) against E. coli; (B) Plant extracts (water) against E. coli; (C) Plant extracts (methanol) against S. aureus; (D) Plant extracts (water) against S. aureus; (E) Plant extracts (methanol) against S. typhimurium; (F) Plant extracts (methanol) against V. cholera.
Molecules 21 00293 g001
Figure 2. Forest areas of the state of Odisha showing sampling sites and biodiversity spots.
Figure 2. Forest areas of the state of Odisha showing sampling sites and biodiversity spots.
Molecules 21 00293 g002
Table 1. Summary of antibacterial activity among the test plants.
Table 1. Summary of antibacterial activity among the test plants.
ScrutinyNo. of Extracts Reported as Antibacterial (%)
ElementMethanol ExtractAqueous Extract
Total number of plant species tested—22 Gram positive146 (56.58%)89 (34.49%)
Total number of Genus tested—177Gram negative137 (53.10%)102 (39.53%)
Total number of family tested—83B. cereus108 (41.86%)50 (19.37%)
Total number of parts tested = 258S. aureus124 (48.06%)76 (29.45%)
Leaves-125; Bark-19; Whole part-08; Stem-04E. coli68 (26.35%)45 (17.44%)
Root-04; Rhizome-03; Fruit-03 and Bulb-01S. typhimurium65 (25.19%)41 (15.89%)
Total number of methanol extracts active—165S. dysentriae50 (19.37%)22 (8.52%)
Total number of aqueous extracts active—127S. flexneri66 (25.58%)28 (10.85%)
Number of species do not show activity—90 speciesS. sonnei47 (18.21%)24 (9.30%)
Number of extracts do not show activity V. cholerae72 (27.90%)38 (14.72%)
(93 methanol + 131 aqueous = 224)Zone ≥ 20 mm10 (3.87%)0
Total number of family show activity—68Zone 15–20 mm34 (13.17%)9 (3.48%)
Total number of family do not show activity—15Zone < 15160 (62.01%)121 (46.89%)
Table 2. Results of screening of plants from Northern Odisha, India.
Table 2. Results of screening of plants from Northern Odisha, India.
Plant DescriptionZone of Inhibition in mm
Andrographis paniculata (Burm. f.) NeesLfA1412111012-14-
Barleria cristata L.LfA1212------
Adhatoda vasica NeesLfA1110-1212-1211
Acorus calamus L.RhA-------09
Alangium salvifolium (C.B.Clarke) W.W.Sm. & CaveLfA121010-----
Alpinia galangal (Linn.) Wild.LfA--------
Achyranthes aspera L.WpA---11---09
Achyranthes bidentata L. BlumeWpA--------
Cyathula prostrata L. BlumeLfA--------
Buchanania lanzan SprengBkA1512------
Lannea coromandelica (Houtt.) Merr.BkA1212-0910---
Mangifera indica L.LfA--------
Semecarpus anacardium L.f.FrA1114-12----
Spondias pinnata (L.f.) KurzLfA--10-----
Annona reticulata L.LfA-----12-12
Annona squamosa L.LfA-12----12-
Centella asiatica (L.) Urb.WpA121210----10
Eryngium foetidum L.LfA091212-13-11-
Alstonia scholaris (L.) R.Br.LfA--------
Alstonia venenata R.Br.LfA--------
Holarrhena antidysenterica Wall ex. A.DC.LfA18121214--11-
Ichnocarpus frutescens (L.) W.T.AitonLfA--------
Rauvolfia serpentina (L.) Benth. ex KurzRtA--------
Colocasia esculenta (L.) SchottRhA--09-12--09
Aristolochia indica L.LfA-12------
Calotropis procera (Aiton) Dryand.LtA-12-----12
Pergularia demia (Forssk.) Chiov.LfA------12-
Hemidesmus indicus (L.) R. Br. ex Schult.LfA--------
Ageratum conyzoides (L.) L.WpA-11121211-12-
Blumea lacera (Burm.f.) DC.LfA--------
Chrysanthellum americanum (L.) VatkeLfA1012------
Elephantopus scaber L.LfA1410--11-08-
Tridax procumbens (L.) L.LfA-------13
Vernonia aspera (Roxb.) Ham.LfA0912------
Vernonia squarrosa Dinter ex Merxm.LfA----12--10
Baccharoides anthelmintica (L.) MoenchLfA--10----10
Oroxylum indicum (L.) KurzBkA1210---1212-
Bauhinia variegata L.LfA--------
Cassia fistula L.LfA1312100911120812
Cassia occidentalis L.LfA-121011----
Cassia tora L.LfA--------
Saraca asoca (Roxb.) Willd.LfA--------
Tamarindus indica L.LfA1011-10---12
Mesua ferrea L.LfA1210101212-12-
Capparis zeylanica L.LfA--------
Cleome viscosa L.LfA1011--10---
Celastrus paniculatus Willd.LfA-12---13-15
Euonymus glaber Roxb.LfA-121212---13
Garcinia cowa Roxb. ex ChoisyLfA12111014-12--
Cochlospermum religiosum (L.) AlstonLfA-------
Anogeissus latifolia (Roxb. ex DC.) Wall. Ex Guillem. & Perr.LfA1211101212---
Combretum roxburghii Spreng.LfA--------
Terminalia alata Heyne ex RothBkA-----12-14
Terminalia arjuna (Roxb. ex DC.) Wight & Arn.BkA-12-1214111112
Terminalia bellirica (Gaertn.) Roxb.BkA10121113--10-
Terminalia chebula Retz.BkA--------
Terminalia tomentosa Wight & Arn.LfA-------10
Commelina paludosa BlumeLfA14-12 ----
Erycibe paniculata Roxb.LfA-10-----10
Kalanchoe pinnata (Lam.) Pers.LfA--------
Coccinia grandis (L.) VoigtLfA-12-11----
Momordica charantia L.LfA10-------
Cyperus rotundus L.LfA1110-10----
Dillenia pentogyna Roxb.LfA12--12----
Shorea robusta Gaertn.LfA10----12-11
Diospyros malabarica (Desr.) KostelLfA--------
Diospyros melanoxylon Roxb.LfA--1011--12-
Diospyros montana Roxb.LfA-----10--
Diospyros sylvatica Roxb.LfA-12------
Antidesma ghaesembilla Gaertn.LfA--------
Cleistanthus collinus (Roxb.) Benth ex Hook. f.LfA121012--12-12
Croton caudatus GeiselerLfA--------
Croton roxburghii Wall.LfA101610-1212-13
Croton roxburghii Wall.BkA-121514--14-
Emblica officinalis Gaertn.LfA-121010----
Euphorbia hirta L.LfA-1012-1012--
Jatropha gossypiifolia L.LfA--------
Macaranga peltata (Roxb.) Mull. Arg.LfA--------
Mallotus philippensis (Lam.) Mull. Arg.LfA--------
Phyllanthus fraternus G. L. WebsterWpA-------10
Ricinus communis L.LfA12----1010-
Flacourtia jangomas (Lour.) Raeusch.LfA-1210--12-11
Butea monsperma (Lam.) Taub.LfA-10------
Butea superba Roxb.LfA-101010----
Clitoria ternatea L.LfA--------
Dalbergia latifolia Roxb.BkA--------
Dalbergia volubilis Roxb.BkA--------
Desmodium gangeticum (L.) DC.LfA12-08-10---
Desmodium oojeinense (Roxb.) H. OhashiLfA--------
Desmodium pulchellum (L.) Benth.LfA--10-----
Flemingia nana Roxb.RtA1511---12-10
Glycyrrhiza glabra (L.)BkA-11-----10
Indigofera cassioides DC.LfA--------
Indigofera glabra L.LfA-11-09----
Millettia extensa (Benth) BakerLfA-12------
Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb.BkA-12-10-10--
Tephrosia purpurea (L.) Pers.FrA---12----
Canscora decurrens DaizellWpA--------
Eleutherine bulbosa (Mill.) Urb.BlA18161017-12--
Hyptis suaveolens (L.) Poit.LfA12-------
Ocimum americanum L.LfA-09--10---
Ocimum sanctum L.LfA---1010---
Litsea glutinosa (Lour.) C.B. Rob.LfA--------
Abrus precatorius L.LfA--------
Linum usitatissimum L.LfA--------
Dendrophthoe falcata (L.f.) Ettingsh.LfA--------
Lagerstroemia speciosa (L.) Pers.LfA--1012----
Sida acuta Burm. f.LfA-10------
Sida cordata (Burm.f.) Borss.Waalk.WpA--------
Angiopteris evecta (G. Forst.) Hoffm.LfA--------
Melastoma malabathricum L.BkA-10-----10
Azadirachta indica A. Juss.BkA15-10--10--
Cissampelos pareira L.RtA---12-10--
Acacia leucophloea (Roxb.) Willd.LfA---09----
Ficus racemosa L.BkA--12-----
Moringa oleafera Lam.LfA-1918--15-08
Ardisia solanacea (Poir.) Roxb.LfA-1010-----
Eucalyptus citriodora Hook.BkA--------
Psidium guajava L.LfA-11-12----
Syzygium cumini (L.) SkeelsLfA-10--09--10
Syzygium jambos (L.) AlstonLfA-12-----10
Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L.LfA-141012--1010
M22142211 -1518
Ludwigia octovalvis (Jacq.) P.H. RavenLfA-09------
Argemone mexicana L.LfA--------
Hemidesmus indicus (L.) R.Br. ex Schult.LfA11-12-10---
Drynaria quercifolia (L.) J. Sm.StA--------
Punica granatum L.LfA10121012-12-14
Ziziphus mauritiana Lam.LfA-10------
Anthocephalus chinensis (Lam.) Hassk.LfA-1012-----
Canthium dicoccum (Gaertn.) Merr.LfA10-------
Ixora pavetta Andr.LfA10-------
Mitragyna parvifolia (Roxb.) Korth.LfA-------08
Paederia foetida L.LfA-------08
Wendlandia tinctoria (Roxb.) DCLfA12--10-10--
Acronychia pedunculata (L.) Miq.LfA-10------
Aegle marmelos (L.) CorreaLfA-10------
Citrus aurantium L.LfA--------
Clausena excavate Burm. f.LfA1109-14----
Murraya koenigii (L.) Spreng.LfA1210---12--
Schleichera oleosa (Lour.) Merr.LfA-10---12--
Madhuca longifolia (J.Koenig ex L.) J.F.Macbr.LfA1210---12--
Mimusops elengi L.LfA-10---12--
Scoparia dulcis L.LfA1210--09---
Datura metel L.LfA--------
Solanum virginianum L.LfA---10----
Helicteres isora L.LfA---12----
Pterospermum acerifolium (L.) Willd.LfA---12--12-
Pterospermum xylocarpum (Gaertn.) Sant. & WaghLfA--------
Grewia elastica RoyleLfA--------
Trema orientalis (L.) BlumeLfA-10------
Clerodendrum indicum (L.) KuntzeLfA-1010-14-10-
Clerodendrum viscosum Vent.LfA14-------
Lantana camara L.LfA--12-----
Vitex negundo L.LfA101210-----
Leea indica (Burm. f.) Merr.LfA--------
Cissus quadrangularis L.WpA--------
Curcuma anguistifolia Roxb.LfA-----10--
Curcuma aromatic Salisb.RhA--------
Kaempferia rotunda L.LfA--------
Antibiotic-Ciprofloxacin 22161624202623R
Antibiotic-Gentamicin 2724261822242120
PU. Parts used; E. Extract; A. Aqueous; M. Methanol; Fl. flower; Fr. fruit; Lf. leaf; Bk. bark; Rt. root; Rh. rhizome; St. stem; Sd. seeds; Wp. whole plant; Bacterial species: Bc. B. cereus; Sa. S. aureus; Ec. E. coli; St. S. typhimurium; Sd. S. dysentriae; Sf. S. flexneri; Ss. S. sonnei; Vc. V. cholera.
Table 3. Summary of antibacterial activity among the test plants.
Table 3. Summary of antibacterial activity among the test plants.
ScrutinyNo. of Extracts Reported as Antibacterial (%)
OrganismMethanol ExtractAqueous Extract
Total number of plant species tested—222 Gram positive146 (56.58%)89 (34.49%)
Total number of Genus tested—177Gram negative137 (53.10%)102 (39.53%)
Total number of family tested—83B. cereus108 (41.86%)50 (19.37%)
Total number of parts tested = 258S. aureus124 (48.06%)76 (29.45%)
Leaves-125; Bark-19; Whole part-08; Stem-04E. coli68 (26.35%)45 (17.44%)
Root-04; Rhizome-03; Fruit-03 and Bulb-01S. typhimurium65 (25.19%)41 (15.89%)
Total number of methanol extracts active—165S. dysentriae50 (19.37%)22 (8.52%)
Total number of aqueous extracts active—127S. flexneri66 (25.58%)28 (10.85%)
Number of species do not show activity-90 speciesS. sonnei47 (18.21%)24 (9.30%)
Number of extracts do not show activity V. cholerae72 (27.90%)38 (14.72%)
(93 methanol + 131 aqueous = 224)Zone ≥ 20 mm10 (3.87%)0
Total number of family show activity—68Zone (15–20) mm34 (13.17%)9 (3.48%)
Total number of family do not show activity—15Zone < 15160 (62.01%)121 (46.89%)
Table 4. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) results of selected plants from SBR.
Table 4. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) results of selected plants from SBR.
Plant SpeciesPlant PartTest Bacteria
Achyranthes asperaRt>4000>4000>40002000
Acorus calamusRh>5000>5000>5000>5000
Adhatoda vasica Lf50050010002000
Aegle marmelosLf>4000>40004000>4000
Ageratum conyzoidesWp500>40005004000
Alangium salvifoliumLf>5000>5000>5000>5000
Alpinia galangaLf100010002000500
Alstonia scholarisLf>2000>20001000500
Andrographis paniculataLf100010002000500
A. paniculataSt500100020001000
Angiopteris evectaLf>4000>40002000>5000
Anogeissus latifoliaLf1000400010001000
Annona squamosaLf1000200010001000
Annona reticulataLf1000200010001000
Ardisia solanaceaLf1000200010004000
Azadirachta indicaLf250250250250
Buchanania lanzanBk187312625625
Cassia fistulaLf94312625625
Celastrus paniculatusLf10005001000500
Centella asiaticaWp1000100010002000
Cissampelos pareiraLf>40005005001000
Clausena excavataLf125062512501250
Cleome viscosaLf10005005001000
Cleistanthus collinusLf1250125012502500
Clerodendrum indicumLf2502000250500
Combretum roxburghiiBk1250125025002500
Croton roxburghiiLf625625625156
C. roxburghiiBk312312>50005000
Diospyros melanoxylonLf>5000>5000>50002500
D. melanoxylonBk1000250500250
Diospyros sylvatica Bk12506256251250
Elephantopus scaberLf20002502000250
Eleutherine bulbosaBl6222125125
Erycibe paniculataLf50050012501250
Eryngium foetidumLf2500250025002500
E. foetidumSt1250125050001250
Euonymus glaberLf25050010002000
Flemingia nanaRt40001000>40004000
Garcinia cowaLf625125012501250
Helicteres isoraRt1250125012501250
Hemidesmus indicusLf4000100040004000
Holarrhena antidysentericaLf12503126252500
Lannea coromandelicaLf62531225002500
Millettia extensaLf2500>5000>5000>5000
Mimusops elengiLf5000>50002500>5000
Momordica dioicaLf>5000>5000>5000>5000
Mimusops elengi Lf1000400020004000
Moringa oleaferaLf62531225002500
Nyctanthes arbor-tristisLf3123121250312
N. arbor-tristisBk156156156625
Oroxylum indicumBk250250500125
Paederia foetidaLf1000100020001000
Pterospermum acerifoliumBk3123121250>5000
Punica granatumLf625125025002500
Ricinus communisLf10001000>50001000
Semecarpus anacardiumFr50020005002000
Shorea robustaLf40002000>4000>4000
Spondias pinnataLf500500500500
Tamarindus indicaLf20002000>4000>4000
Terminalia alataBk62531225002500
Terminalia arjunaBk10002000>40004000
Terminalia tomentosaBk2500250025002500
Tridax procumbensLf3000>6000>6000>6000
Vitex negundoLf>5000250012505000
V. negundoBk>5000>5000>5000>5000
A. aqueous; M. methanol; Fl. flower; Fr. fruit; Lf. leaf; Bk. bark; Rt. root; Rh. rhizome; Bl. bulb; St. stem; Sd. seeds; Wp. whole plant; Sa. S. aureus; Bs. B. cereus; Sf. S. flexneri; and Vc. V. cholerae. MIC values are expressed in µg/mL. The stock extracts concentrations were 20 mg/mL; 25 mg/mL and 30 mg/mL.
Table 5. Antibiogram among the test bacterial strains.
Table 5. Antibiogram among the test bacterial strains.
Antibiotic(s)Bacterial Strains (Zone of Inhibition in mm)
Nalidaxic acidRRRR2528RR
Polymyxin B14R12R1412RR
R—Resistant; Bc. B. cereus; Sa. S. aureus; Ec. E. coli; St. S. typhimurium; Sd. S. dysentriae; Sf. S. flexneri; Ss. S. sonnei; Vc. V. cholerae.

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Panda, S.K.; Mohanta, Y.K.; Padhi, L.; Park, Y.-H.; Mohanta, T.K.; Bae, H. Large Scale Screening of Ethnomedicinal Plants for Identification of Potential Antibacterial Compounds. Molecules 2016, 21, 293.

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Panda SK, Mohanta YK, Padhi L, Park Y-H, Mohanta TK, Bae H. Large Scale Screening of Ethnomedicinal Plants for Identification of Potential Antibacterial Compounds. Molecules. 2016; 21(3):293.

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Panda, Sujogya Kumar, Yugal Kishore Mohanta, Laxmipriya Padhi, Young-Hwan Park, Tapan Kumar Mohanta, and Hanhong Bae. 2016. "Large Scale Screening of Ethnomedicinal Plants for Identification of Potential Antibacterial Compounds" Molecules 21, no. 3: 293.

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