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J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Feb 23;53(4):1152-7.

Selective growth-inhibiting effects of compounds identified in Tabebuia impetiginosa inner bark on human intestinal bacteria.

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  • 1School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University, San 56-1, Shillim-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 151-742, Korea.


The growth-inhibiting activity of anthraquinone-2-carboxylic acid and lapachol identified in the inner bark of taheebo, Tabebuia impetiginosa, toward 10 human intestinal bacteria was evaluated by using a paper disk diffusion bioassay and compared to those of seven lapachol congeners (1,4-naphthoquinone, naphthazarin, menadione, lawsone, plumbagin, juglone, and dichlone) as well as two commercially available antibiotics, chloramphenicol and tetracycline. Anthraquinone-2-carboxylic acid exhibited very strong growth inhibition of Clostridium paraputrificum at 1 microg/disk while 100 microg/disk of lapachol was needed for moderate growth inhibition of the same organism. These two isolates exhibited weak inhibition of Clostridium perfringens and Escherichia coli at 100 microg/disk while no adverse effects were observed on the growth of Bifidobacterium adolescentis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium infantis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus casei at 1000 microg/disk. Structure-activity relationships indicate that a methyl group in the C-2 position of 1,4-naphthoquinone derivatives might play an important role in antibacterial activity.

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