GC-MS profiling and assessment of antioxidant, antibacterial, and anticancer properties of extracts of Annona squamosa L. leaves

BMC Complement Med Ther. 2020 Oct 6;20(1):296. doi: 10.1186/s12906-020-03029-9.


Background: The research and application of plants in food supplements and drugs have attracted great interest. This study aimed to examine the efficiency of several solvents for the extraction of the main compounds from Annona squamosa leaves and to evaluate the antioxidant, antibacterial, and anticancer activities of these extracts.

Methods: Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry was used to screen the bioactive compounds of A. squamosa methanolic extract. The free radical, hydrogen peroxide, and nitric oxide scavenging activities of the extracts were investigated. Furthermore, MTT, nuclear staining, LDH, and monolayer wound repair assays were performed to evaluate the potential anticancer activity of the extracts in colon cancer cells while the antibacterial activity was tested by using a well diffusion assay.

Results: A. squamosa leaves extracts were found to contain several bioactive compounds, of which the majority were sesquiterpenes (C15H24). These extracts exhibited strong antioxidant activity and antibacterial potency against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Different A. squamosa leaves extracts displayed remarkable antiproliferative, cytotoxic, antimigration, and apoptotic activities in colon cancer cells.

Conclusions: A. squamosa leaves contain major bioactive compounds that inhibit the growth of several types of bacteria and colon cancer cell lines, which demonstrated their efficacy as an alternative source of antibiotics and for the development of novel drugs for colon cancer therapy.

Keywords: A. squamosa; Antibacterial; Antioxidants; Apoptosis; Bioactive compounds; Phytomedicine.

MeSH terms

  • Annona / chemistry*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / chemistry*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • HCT116 Cells
  • Humans
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Leaves


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts