Background: Coconut is a tropical fruit well known for its essential oils that have been recognized for their biological activities since ancient times. There have been no previous investigations on the essential oils from coconut shells. Method: The shell extract of Cocos nucifera (L.) was prepared by the Soxhlet method and total phenolic content (TPC) in the extract was determined by Folin-Ciocalteu (FC) assay. The antioxidant potential of the coconut shell extract was evaluated by using the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging assay. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the extract was determined by the strip method against clinically isolated dermal mycosis of 20 infected patients. Result: Total antioxidant activity varied from 92.32% to 94.20% and total phenolic content was found at 5.33 ± 0.02 mg/g in the coconut shell extract. The extract was found to be most effective as an antifungal against human pathogenic fungi, including A. niger, A. flavus, T. rubrum, M. canis, M. gypseum, A. fumigates, T. mentagrophyte and T. vercossum. The crude shell extract was highly effective against all dermal mycosis tested with the MIC ranging from 62 mm to 90 mm, whereas all fungal samples showed good inhibitory effect. Conclusion: The results of the present study provide a potential cure for microbial infections.
Keywords: DPPH antioxidant process; Soxhlet extraction; antifungal activity; coconut shell; phenolic constituents.