In vitro bactericidal activity of diterpenoids isolated from Aframomum melegueta K.Schum against strains of Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus

Kenneth Ngwoke, Olivier Chevallier, Venasius K. Wirkom, Paul Stevenson, Christopher T. Elliott, Chen Situ

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Ethnopharmacological relevance: The ethnobotanical use of Aframomum melegueta in the treatment of urinary tract and soft tissue infection suggested that the plant has antimicrobial activity.

Materials and methods: To substantiate the folkloric claims, an acetone, 50:50 acetone:methanol and 2:1 chloroform:methanol extracts were tested against Escherichia coli K12; acetone extract and the fractions of acetone extracts were tested against Listeria monocytogenes. Bioassay-guided fractionation was performed on the extract using L. monocytogenes as the test organism to isolate the bioactive compounds which were then tested against all the other organisms.

Results: Four known labdane diterpenes (G3 and G5) were isolated for the first time from the rhizomes of A. melegueta and purified. These were tested against E. coli, L. monocytogenes, methicillin resistant Staphylococus aureus (MRSA) and S. aureus to determine antibacterial activity. The result showed that two compounds G3 and G5 exhibited more potent antibacterial activity compared to the current clinically used antibiotics ampicillin, gentamicin and vancomycin and can be potential antibacterial lead compounds. The structure of the labdane diterpenes were elucidated using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and Mass spectrometry. A possible mode of action of the isolated compound G3 and its potential cytotoxicity towards mammalian cells were also discussed.

Conclusion: The results confirmed the presence of antibacterial compounds in the rhizomes of A. melegueta with a favourable toxicity profile which could be further optimized as antibacterial lead compounds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1147-1154
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Issue number3
Early online date27 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2014

Cite this