Growth inhibition of plant pathogenic bacteria and fungi by extracts from selected South African plant species

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Extracts from 26 plant species representing 16 families, collected in the Free State Province of South Africa, were tested in vitro for their potential to inhibit the growth of eight plant pathogenic fungi and five plant pathogenic bacteria. None of the crude extracts showed any mycelial growth inhibition of the eight test fungi. All of the extracts inhibited the growth of one or more of the five plant pathogenic test bacteria, but to varying degrees. Crude extracts from Acacia karroo and Elephantorrhiza elephantina inhibited the growth of four bacteria, while that of Euclea crispa, Acacia erioloba, Senna italica and Buddleja saligna inhibited the growth of all five plant pathogenic bacteria. Of these, the crude extract of Euclea crispa was clearly superior to the rest as it compared more favourably to that of a commercial bactericide, Dimethyl Dodecyl Ammonium Chloride (DDAC). Subsequently, the Euclea crispa crude extract was fractionated by means of liquid-liquid extraction using four organic solvents, hexane, diethyl ether, chloroform and ethyl acetate, in order of increasing polarity. This was done in an attempt to assess the antimicrobial potential of the more concentrated fractions. Once again, none of the semi-purified fractions showed any antifungal activity. However, antibacterial activity was located in the more polar ethyl acetate fraction indicating that the substances involved were very similar in polarity and/or structure. From this it seems justified to further purify the ethyl acetate fraction of the Euclea crispa extract and attempt to identify the active substance(s) involved.




Pretorius, J. C., Magama, S., & Zietsman, P. C. (2003). Growth inhibition of plant pathogenic bacteria and fungi by extracts from selected South African plant species. South African Journal of Botany, 69(2), 186–192.

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