The pharmacological screening of Pentanisia prunelloides and the isolation of the antibacterial compound palmitic acid

J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Jan;79(1):101-7. doi: 10.1016/s0378-8741(01)00380-4.


The uses of Pentanisia prunelloides in Zulu traditional medicine indicate that the plant is believed to be effective in relieving inflammation, bacterial and viral infections and also stimulating uterine contraction. Aqueous, ethanolic and ethyl acetate extracts of leaves and roots were screened for prostaglandin-synthesis inhibitors and antibacterial and antiviral activity. In the results of the anti-inflammatory assay all the extracts showed cyclooxygenase-1 inhibition. The ethanolic and ethyl acetate extracts showed greater antibacterial activity than the aqueous extracts against Gram-positive (Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus) and Gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae). Both root and leaf extracts were found to inhibit viral replication of the Influenza A virus. The ethyl acetate extract was fractionated by silica vacuum liquid chromatography and anti-inflammatory activity was found to be most pronounced in the more polar fractions. The presence of antibacterial activity was confirmed by running the fractions on a thin layer chromatography (TLC) plate and performing a bioautographic assay. The active fraction was further purified by TLC and the major antibacterial compound in the ethyl acetate root extract was identified by GC/MS as palmitic acid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / isolation & purification
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Influenza A virus / drug effects
  • Medicine, African Traditional*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Palmitic Acid / isolation & purification
  • Palmitic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / drug effects*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Plant Extracts
  • Palmitic Acid
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases