chapter  11
16 Pages

Antimicrobial, Antimycobacterial and Antibiofi lm Properties of Couroupita guianensis Aubl. Fruit Extract

Couroupita guianensis Aubl. (Lecythidaceae) is commonly called Ayahuma and the Cannonball tree. It is an evergreen tree allied to the Brazil Nut (Bertholletia excelsa) and is native to tropical northern South America and the Southern Caribbean [1]. The trees are grown extensively in Shiva temples in India. Hindus revere it as a sacred tree because the petals of the flower resemble the hood of the Naga, a sacred snake, protecting a Shiva Lingam, the stigma. The tree also produces globular brown woody, indehiscent, amphisarcun (double fleshy) fruits of an astonishing size, almost

the size of a human head [2]. It is widely planted in tropical and subtropical botanical gardens as an ornamental; it does well under cultivations and it is used to feed animals. Native Amazonian people from Amazonian region and other states of the north region of Brazil use infusions or teas obtained from the leaves, flowers, and barks of Couroupita guianensis to treat hypertension, tumours, pain, and inflammatory processes [3]. The Cannonball tree possesses antibiotic, antifungal, antiseptic and analgesic qualities. The trees are used to cure cold and stomach ache. Juice made from the leaves is used to cure skin diseases, and shamans of South America have even used tree parts for treating malaria. The inside of the fruit can disinfect wounds and young leaves cure toothache [4]. Chemical studies of this species showed the presence of α-amirin, β-amirin, β-sitosterol, nerol, tryptanthrine, indigo, indirubin, isatin, linoleic acid, carotenoids and sterols [5-10]. In the flowers, it was possible to identify eugenol, linalool and (E,E)-farnesol where as triterpenoid esters of fatty acids as β-amirin palmitate were characterized in the leaves [11]. Indirubin is a purple 3,2′bisindole, and is a constituent of indigo natural. Indigo natural is a dark blue powder prepared from the leaves of a number of medicinal plants including Baphicacanthus cusia (Acanthaceae), Polygonum tinctorium (Polygonaceae), Isatis indigotica (Brassicaceae), Indigofera suffrutticosa (Fabaceae) and Indigofera tinctoria (Fabaceae) [12]. Indigo, naturally is used in traditional Chinese medicine as a hemostatic, antipyretic, antiinflammatory, and sedative agent in the treatment of bacterial and viral infections [13]. In the present communication we report the antimicrobial, antimycobacterial and antibiofilm forming activities of the chloroform extract of the fruit of C. guianensis. The HPLC finger print of the chloroform extract together with quantification of Indirubin as marker is also given.