Ian Edwin Cock1,2,*
1School of Environment and Science, Griffith University, Nathan, Brisbane, Queensland, AUSTRALIA.
2Environmental Futures Research Institute, Griffith University, Nathan, Brisbane, Queensland, AUSTRALIA.
Published: January 2020
Type: Original Article
Introduction: Brachychiton acerifolius (A.Cunn. ex G.Don) Macarthur and C. moore is a large tree that is native to subtropical regions of the east of Australia. Decoctions and infusions produced from the leaves of the related species Brachychiton diversifolius were used by the first Australians to treat a variety of bacterial diseases. Despite this, B. acerifolius leaf and flower extracts have not been rigorously examined for antibacterial properties against many pathogens. Methods: The antimicrobial activity of B. acerifolius leaf and flower extracts was investigated by disc diffusion and growth time course assays against a panel of pathogenic bacteria. The growth inhibitory activity was quantified by MIC determination. Toxicity was determined using the Artemia franciscana nauplii bioassay. Results: Methanolic B. acerifolius leaf and flower extracts inhibited the growth of a wide range of bacterial species. Growth of both gram positive and gramnegative bacteria was inhibited by the B. acerifolius leaf and flower extracts, although the gram negative bacteria were substantially more susceptible to the extracts than the gram positive bacteria were. The leaf extracts were more potent growth inhibitors than the flower extracts against all bacteria tested. The B. acerifolius leaf extract was a strong inhibitor of A. faecalis, K. pneumonia, P. fluorescens, S. newport, S. sonnei, B. cereus, S. aureus and S. pyogenes growth, with MIC values substantially <1000μg/mL. The antibacterial activity of the methanolic B. acerifolius leaf extract was further investigated by growth time course assays which showed significant growth inhibition in cultures of P. fluorsecens and B. cereus within 1hr of exposure. Both extracts were determined to be nontoxic in the Artemia franciscana nauplii bioassay, indicating their safety for internal use as well as for topical uses. Conclusion: The lack of toxicity of the B. acerifolius leaf and flower extracts and their growth inhibitory bioactivity against a panel of pathogenic bacteria partially validate the traditional usage of this species to treat bacterial diseases and indicates their potential in the development of antiseptic agents.
Key words: Malvaceae, Illawarra flame tree, Australian plants, Antibacterial activity, Toxicity, Medicinal plants.