Antibacterial compounds from the root of the indigenous Australian medicinal plant Carissa lanceolata R.Br

Nat Prod Res. 2011 Sep;25(15):1388-95. doi: 10.1080/14786410802267668. Epub 2011 Jul 8.


The conkerberry, Carissa lanceolata R.Br. (Apocynaceae), is commonly used by many indigenous Australian communities across Northern Australia for the treatment of a variety of conditions such as chest pain, toothache, colds and flu. Indigenous uses of this plant strongly argue for an antibacterial bioactivity. The aim is to identify antibacterial compounds from root material of C. lanceolata, therefore confirming the indigenous use of the plant. Antibacterial activity was examined against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis using a micro broth dilution technique. Three compounds demonstrating considerable activity were isolated. The volatile phenolic compound 2'-hydroxyacetophenone and the lignan carinol both were reported for the first time from C. lanceolata, whereas this is the second account of the occurrence of carissone. All three compounds showed activity, with 2'-hydroxyacetophenone and carinol having a minimum inhibitory concentration of <1.25 mg mL⁻¹ against all four bacteria. Extracts and compounds isolated from C. lanceolata roots were found to possess a significant antibacterial activity, confirming the indigenous use of this plant.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apocynaceae / chemistry*
  • Australia
  • Bacillus subtilis / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry*
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects
  • Solid Phase Microextraction
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Plant Extracts