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J Ethnopharmacol. 2001 Jun;76(1):87-91.

Purification and identification of active antibacterial components in Carpobrotus edulis L.

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  • 1Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, University of the Orange Free State, 9300, Bloemfontein, South Africa.


Very little is known about the chemical composition of Carpobrotus edulis, also known as Hotnotsfig or sourfig. However, some claims have been made in the past by traditional healers, regarding its usage as a medicinal plant. In this investigation it was initially illustrated that a crude methanolic extract of the plant exhibits strong anti-bacterial activity. Subsequently, the crude extract was fractionated by means of liquid-liquid chromatography, tannins removed by means of LH20 column chromatography and bioactive fractions with antibacterial properties isolated by means of preparative thin layer chromatography. Five bioactive compounds, individually or collectively responsible for the antibacterial property of C. edulis, were purified from an active ethyl acetate fraction. These compounds were initially identified as flavanoids using standard fingerprinting methods and eventually identified as rutin, neohesperidin, hyperoside, cactichin and ferulic acid using flavanoid standards. A sixth flavanoid with antibacterial activity was also purified but could not be identified in this way. The latter is currently isolated in larger volume for identification through nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

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