Antifungal screening of six Ficus species native to Zambia
The genus Ficus (Moraceae) is well documented for antioxidant, anticancer, antidiarrhoeal, antimicrobial, antiplasmodial, antiulcer and gastroprotective activities . In Zambia, the milky latex of some Ficus sp. are traditionally used against ringworms, while other plant parts are used to wash wounds, decoctions are also used for chest infections, stomach problems and fevers [2,3]. The folk-medicinal knowledge in Zambia has really not being collected and the potential of the plants not investigated. In this study, we collected the milky latex as well as the leaves and stem barks of six Ficus sp. (F. sycomorus, F. sansibarica, F. ovata, F. wakefieldii, F. lutea and F. natalensis) that are native to 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, T. interdigitale, as well as a yeast -Candida albicans and a mould -Aspergillus fumigatus. The Sabouraud agar plate disc and well diffusion techniques were used with miconazole as the positive control and MeOH the negative control. Except for the milky latex of F. sansibarica, all other latexes and the crude extracts were inactive at 100mg/ml. Relevant studies by other reseachers have however, reported significant activity of the crude MeOH extract of F. ovata against a clinical isolate of C. albicans . This activity is 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 sp. against 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.
3. John Burrows and Sandra Burrows. 2003. Fig of Southern and South-central Africa. Umdaus, Hatfield 0028. South Africa. Check abstract instructions