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PeerJ. 2018 Nov 28;6:e5991. doi: 10.7717/peerj.5991. eCollection 2018.

Chemical analysis and evaluation of antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of fruit fractions of Mauritia flexuosa L. f. (Arecaceae).

Author information

PostGraduate Program in Ethnobiology and Nature Conservation, Universidade Regional do Cariri, Crato, Ceará, Brazil.
Department of Biological Chemistry, Universidade Regional do Cariri, Crato, Ceará, Brazil.
PostGraduate Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
University Center UniLeão, Juazeiro do Norte, Ceará, Brazil.
Contributed equally



Fruit consumption is currently considered beyond the nutritional aspects because of the important roles in disease prevention and benefits to health. The objective of this study was to characterize the chemical profile and evaluate the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of different fractions obtained from fruit pulps of Mauritia flexuosa (MFFs).


Initially, chloroform, ethyl acetate and ethanol fractions were obtained from the pulps. Quantifications of total phenols and flavonoids were performed using the methods of Folin-Ciocalteu and complexation with aluminum chloride, respectively. Standard samples were used to identify and quantify phenolic acids and flavonoids using high-performance liquid chromatography with a diode-array detector (HPLC-DAD). The antioxidant capacity of the fractions was verified by sequestration of the free radical 2,2'-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid (ABTS) and iron chelating activity. The antimicrobial activity was determined using the microdilution method and the modulating activity was determined using sub-inhibitory concentrations of the fractions in association with antibiotics.


The chemical analyzes revealed the presence of catechin, caffeic acid, rutin, orientin, quercetin, apigenin, luteolin and kaempferol, where all are present in the ethyl acetate fraction. The fractions exhibited moderate antioxidant and antimicrobial activities against Gram-positive and Candida strains in addition to modulating the activity of conventional antibiotics. The most expressive result was obtained from the association of the chloroform fraction with cefotaxime, which produced a synergistic effect, reducing the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the antibiotic from 1,024 to 256 μg/mL.


The fractions presented a constitution rich in phenolic compounds, especially flavonoids. The data obtained demonstrated that the fractions presented moderate antioxidant activity by acting both as primary and secondary antioxidants. The fractions presented antimicrobial and antibiotic potentiating activities, being the first record of modulating effect of fractions of this species against the studied microbial strains, but failed in modulating the activity of antifungal drugs, indicating that this plant has the potential to be used in the development of therapeutic alternatives against resistant bacteria. The constitution phenolic the fractions may be responsible for their pharmacological properties in vitro.


ABTS; Antibiotic modulation; Antimicrobial; Chelation; Mauritia flexuosa; Phenolic compounds

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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