Turning Waste into Value: Nanosized Natural Plant Materials of Solanum incanum L. and Pterocarpus erinaceus Poir with Promising Antimicrobial Activities

Pharmaceutics. 2016 Apr 19;8(2):11. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics8020011.


Numerous plants are known to exhibit considerable biological activities in the fields of medicine and agriculture, yet access to their active ingredients is often complicated, cumbersome and expensive. As a consequence, many plants harbouring potential drugs or green phyto-protectants go largely unnoticed, especially in poorer countries which, at the same time, are in desperate need of antimicrobial agents. As in the case of plants such as the Jericho tomato, Solanum incanum, and the common African tree Pterocarpus erinaceus, nanosizing of original plant materials may provide an interesting alternative to extensive extraction and isolation procedures. Indeed, it is straightforward to obtain considerable amounts of such common, often weed-like plants, and to mill the dried material to more or less uniform particles of microscopic and nanoscopic size. These particles exhibit activity against Steinernema feltiae or Escherichia coli, which is comparable to the ones seen for processed extracts of the same, respective plants. As S. feltiae is used as a model nematode indicative of possible phyto-protective uses in the agricultural arena, these findings also showcase the potential of nanosizing of crude "waste" plant materials for specific practical applications, especially-but not exclusively-in developing countries lacking a more sophisticated industrial infrastructure.

Keywords: Pterocarpus erinaceus; Solanum incanum; antimicrobial activity; nanosizing; phyto-protectant.