Antifungal screening of six Ficus species native to Zambia
The genus Ficus (Moraceae) is well known for antioxidant, anticancer, antidiarrhoeal, antimicrobial, antiplasmodial, antiulcer and gastroprotective activities . In Zambia, the milky latex of some Ficus species is traditionally used against ringworms, while other plant parts are used to treat wounds, chest infections, stomach problems and fevers [2,3]. The folk medicinal knowledge in Zambia is poorly documented and the potential of the medicinal plants has remained unexplored. In this study, we collected the milky latex, as well as the leaves and stem barks of six Ficus species (F. sycomorus, F. sansibarica, F. ovata, F. wakefieldii, F. lutea and F. natalensis) that are native to the Zambezi valley of Zambia. The in vitro antifungal activity of the latex (used directly) and the crude MeOH extracts of the leaves and stem barks were assayed against clinical cultures of two fungi causing ringworm infections (Trichophyton tonsurans and T. interdigitale), as well as a yeast (Candida albicans) and a mould (Aspergillus fumigatus). The agar plate disc and well diffusion techniques were employed by using miconazole and MeOH as positive and negative controls, respectively. Except for the milky latex of F. sansibarica, all other latices and the crude extracts were inactive at 100µg/ml concentration. Previous studies have however, reported significant activity for the crude MeOH extract of F. ovata against a clinical isolate of C. albicans , and the activity was attributed to the presence of terpenoids, isoflavonoids and phenolic acids. This is the first antifungal screening study evaluating the antifungal activity of native Zambian Ficus species against various fungi.
Acknowledgements: The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and the Rick-Cannell Travel Fund of the School of Pharmacy are acknowledged for funding.
References: 1. Kuete, V. et al. (2009). J Ethopharmacol. 124:556–561.
2. Fowler, D.G. (2007). Zambian Plants: Their vernacular names and uses. Royal Botanical Gardens. Kew, UK.
3. Burrows J., Burrows S. (2003). Figs of Southern and South-Central Africa. Umdaus Publishers. Hartfield, South Africa.