The genus Acacia is quite large and can be found in the warm subarid and arid parts, but little is known about its chemistry, especially the volatile parts. The volatile oils from fresh flowers of A. mollissima and A. cyclops (growing in Tunisia) obtained by hydrodistillation were analyzed by GC then GC/MS. Eighteen (94.7% of the total oil composition) and 23 (97.4%) compounds were identified in these oils, respectively. (E,E)-α-Farnesene (51.5%) and (E)-cinnamyl alcohol (10.7%) constituted the major compounds of the flower oil of A. mollissima, while nonadecane (29.6%) and caryophyllene oxide (15.9%) were the main constituents of the essential oil of A. cyclops. Antioxidant activity of the isolated oils was studied by varied assays, i.e., 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and 2,2-azinobis 3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid (ABTS); the isolated oils showed lowest IC50 (4 - 39 μg/ml) indicating their high antioxidant activity. The α-glucosidase inhibitor activity was also evaluated and Acacia oils were found to be able to strongly inhibit this enzyme with IC50 values (81 - 89 μg/ml) very close to that of acarbose which was used as positive control. Furthermore, they were tested against five Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and one Candida species. Essential oil of A. mollissima was found to be more active than that of A. cyclops, especially against Pseudomonas aeruginosa (MIC = 0.31 mg/ml and MBC = 0.62 mg/ml).
Keywords: Acacia cyclops; Acacia mollissima; Biological activities; Chemical composition; Essential oil.
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