Selective growth-inhibiting effects of compounds identified in Tabebuia impetiginosa inner bark on human intestinal bacteria

J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Feb 23;53(4):1152-7. doi: 10.1021/jf0486038.


The growth-inhibiting activity of anthraquinone-2-carboxylic acid and lapachol identified in the inner bark of taheebo, Tabebuia impetiginosa, toward 10 human intestinal bacteria was evaluated by using a paper disk diffusion bioassay and compared to those of seven lapachol congeners (1,4-naphthoquinone, naphthazarin, menadione, lawsone, plumbagin, juglone, and dichlone) as well as two commercially available antibiotics, chloramphenicol and tetracycline. Anthraquinone-2-carboxylic acid exhibited very strong growth inhibition of Clostridium paraputrificum at 1 microg/disk while 100 microg/disk of lapachol was needed for moderate growth inhibition of the same organism. These two isolates exhibited weak inhibition of Clostridium perfringens and Escherichia coli at 100 microg/disk while no adverse effects were observed on the growth of Bifidobacterium adolescentis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium infantis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus casei at 1000 microg/disk. Structure-activity relationships indicate that a methyl group in the C-2 position of 1,4-naphthoquinone derivatives might play an important role in antibacterial activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthraquinones / analysis
  • Anthraquinones / chemistry
  • Anthraquinones / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Growth Inhibitors / analysis*
  • Growth Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Naphthoquinones / analysis
  • Naphthoquinones / chemistry
  • Naphthoquinones / pharmacology
  • Plant Bark / chemistry*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tabebuia / chemistry*


  • Anthraquinones
  • Growth Inhibitors
  • Naphthoquinones
  • anthraquinone-2-carboxylic acid
  • lapachol