Background: Rhaphiodon echinus is a weed plant used in the Brazilian folk medicinal for the treatment of infectious diseases. In this study, the essential oil of R. echinus leaf was investigated for its antimicrobial properties.
Methods: The chemical constituents of the essential oil were characterized by GC-MS. The antimicrobial properties were determined by studying by the microdilution method the effect of the oil alone, and in combination with antifungal or antibiotic drugs against the fungi Candida albicans, Candida krusei and Candida tropicalis and the microbes Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas. In addition, the iron (II) chelation potential of the oil was determined.
Results: The results showed the presence of β-caryophyllene and bicyclogermacrene in major compounds, and revealed a low antifungal and antibacterial activity of the essential oil, but a strong modulatory effect on antimicrobial drugs when associated with the oil. The essential oil showed iron (II) chelation activity.
Conclusions: The GC-MS characterization revealed the presence of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes in the essential oil and metal chelation potential, which may be responsible in part for the modulatory effect of the oil. These findings suggest that essential oil of R. echinus is a natural product capable of enhancing the antibacterial and antifungal activity of antimicrobial drugs.
Keywords: R. echinus; antibacterial activity; antifungal activity; modulating; natural products.