Context: Solanum erianthum D. Don and Solanum macranthum Dunal (Solanaceae) are widely used in traditional medicine. The leaves act as an abortifacient and in particular to treat leucorrhoea, sores, and skin irritations.
Objective: This study was undertaken to characterize the volatile constituents of the leaf and fruit essential oils of S. erianthum and S. macranthum; their antimicrobial and in vitro cytotoxic bioassay against human breast and prostate tumor cells.
Methods: The volatile oils were obtained by hydrodistillation and analyzed for their constituents by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Minimum Inhibitory Concentrations (MIC) were determined using the microbroth dilution technique while the cytotoxic potentials were evaluated using the Cell Titre 96((R)) AQ(ueous) Non-Radioactive Cell Proliferation Assay method.
Results: Solanum erianthum essential oils were characterized by the abundance of α-terpinolene (17.8%), α-phellandrene (17.5%), p-cymene (15.7%) and β-pinene (11.7%) in the leaves; α-humulene (23.1%), humulene epoxide II (20.0%), caryophyllene oxide (16.5%), methyl salicylate (11.8%) and β-caryophyllene (10.9%) in the fruits. The leaf oil of S. macranthum consisted of (E)-phytol (29.0%), pentadecanal (28.1%) and pentadecane (7.7%) while the major fruit oil constituents were α-humulene (36.5%), β-caryophyllene (17.8%), ethyl palmitate (9.4%), and methyl salicylate (8.2%). Solanum erianthum leaf volatile oil demonstrated potent inhibitory activity against Hs 578T and PC-3 human breast and prostate tumor cells respectively. In addition, the Solanum essential oils exhibited significant antimicrobial activity (19.5-625 µg/mL) on pathogens employed in the assay.
Conclusion: The Solanum essential oils possess strong antimicrobial activity in addition to the potent cytotoxic potential of S. erianthum leaf oil against Hs 578T and PC-3 cells.