Antimicrobial activity of copaiba oils obtained from different species of Copaifera in Brazil
Copaiba oils are extracted from the trunks of trees of the genus Copaifera . The effects attributed to Copaiba oil in folk medicine are anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antiblenorrhagea, antisyphilis, urinary antiseptic, anti-ulcer, and for healing wounds . In Brazil there are more than 20 species of Copaifera, which show some differences in chemical composition . We assessed the antimicrobial activity of 8 species of Copaifera (C. reticulata, C. multijuga, C. martii, C. cearensis, C. paupera, C. langsdorffii, C. officinalis, and C. lucens). The test organisms included Gram-positive bacteria: Staphylococus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Enterococcus faecalis; Gram-negative bacteria: Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus mirabilis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Shigella flexneri, and Enterobacter cloacaea; Yeasts: Candida albicans, C. tropicalis, and C. parapsilosis; and dermatophytes: Trichophyton rubrum, T. mentagrophytes, Microsporum canis, and M. gypseum. The minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of oils were determined by microdilution techniques. S. aureus treated with oil from C. martii was fixed, dehydrated, critical-point dried, and observed by scanning electron microscopy. Copaiba oils showed pronounced antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria. Copaifera martii was the most effective oil, with activity against S. aureus, S. epidermidis, and E. faecalis with MIC of 62.5µg/ml. Against B.subtilis it showed a MIC of 12.5µg/ml. No activity was exhibited by copaiba oils against Gram-negative bacteria, yeasts or dermatophytes. Staphylococcus aureus treated with oil showed alterations in the cell wall, observed by scanning electron microscopy. These results can contribute to opening perspectives for finding new treatments of diseases caused by bacteria.
Acknowledgements: This study was supported by grants from the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico – CNPq, Capacitação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Capes, Fundação Araucária, Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos – FINEP, and Post-Graduate Program in Microbiology of the Universidade Estadual de Londrina-PR, Brazil.
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