The in vitro antibacterial activity of various solvents and water extracts of aloe vera, neem, bryophyllum, lemongrass, tulsi, oregano, rosemary and thyme was assessed on 10 multi-drug resistant clinical isolates from both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and two standard strains including Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923 and Escherichia coli ATCC 25922. The zone of inhibition as determined by agar well diffusion method varied with the plant extract, the solvent used for extraction, and the organism tested. Klebsiella pneumoniae 2, Escherichia coli 3 and Staphylococcus aureus 3 were resistant to the plant extracts tested. Moreover, water extracts did not restrain the growth of any tested bacteria. Ethanol and methanol extracts were found to be more potent being capable of exerting significant inhibitory activities against majority of the bacteria investigated. Staphylococcus aureus 1 was the most inhibited bacterial isolate with 24 extracts (60%) inhibiting its growth whereas Escherichia coli 2 exhibited strong resistance being inhibited by only 11 extracts (28%). The results obtained in the agar diffusion plates were in fair correlation with that obtained in the minimum inhibitory concentration tests. The minimum inhibitory concentration of tulsi, oregano, rosemary and aloe vera extracts was found in the range of 1.56-6.25 mg/ml for the multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates tested whereas higher values (6.25-25 mg/ml) were obtained against the multi-drug resistant isolates Klebsiella pneumoniae 1 and Escherichia coli 1 and 2. Qualitative phytochemical analysis demonstrated the presence of tannins and saponins in all plants tested. Thin layer chromatography and bioautography agar overlay assay of ethanol extracts of neem, tulsi and aloe vera indicated flavonoids and tannins as major active compounds against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
Keywords: Agar well diffusion; bioautography assay; minimum inhibitory concentration; multi-drug resistant; phytochemical analysis.