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Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2012)S637-S640 3

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Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine


Document heading doi:10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60288-3 2012 by the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. All rights reserved.

Phytochemical characterization and antimicrobial activity of Curcuma

xanthorrhiza Roxb.
Mary Helen PA1, Susheela Gomathy K2, Jayasree S1, Nizzy AM1, Rajagopal B1, Jeeva S3*
Department of Biotechnology, Malankara Catholic College, Tamil Nadu, India
Department of Bioinformatics, National College of Arts and Science, Kerala, India
Department of Botany, Scott Christian College, Tamil Nadu, India


Article history: Objective: To study the antimicrobial activity and phytochemical characterization of essential
Received May 2012 oil isolated from the rhizome of Curcuma xanthorrhiza against pathogenic bacteria and fungi.
Received in revised form 6 May 2012 Methods: Fresh rhizomes of Curcuma xanthorrhiza were subjected to hydro distillation process
Accepted 9 August 2012 to obtain essential oil and characterized by Gas Chromatography- Mass Spectroscopy (GC-
Available online 28 August 2012 MS). The essential oil was evaluated for antibacterial and antifungal activity against thirteen
pathogenic bacteria and six fungi by the disc diffusion method. Results: GC MS analysis of the
Keywords: essential oil extracted from the rhizome of Curcuma xanthorrhiza contained the derivatives of
xanthorihizol, camphene and curcumene, monoterpene hydrocarbons, oxygenated monoterpenes,
Antimicrobial activity
sesquiterpene, hydrocarbons and other minor compounds. The antimicrobial activity of the oil
showed significant inhibitory activity against the human pathogenic bacteria, no activity was
observed against the fungi Aspergillus niger and Fusarium oxysporum. Conclusions: The findings
Curcuma xanthorrhiza
of the present study indicate that the rhizome extract of Curcuma xanthorrhiza possess secondary
metabolites and potential to develop antimicrobial drugs.

1. Introduction a lot of interest in the investigation of natural materials

as sources of new antibacterial agents. Different extracts
The frequency of life-threatening infections caused by from medicinal plants were tested and some natural
pathogenic microorganisms has increased worldwide, products were approved as new antibacterial drugs [5]. The
becoming an important cause of morbidity and mortality medicinal value of plants lies in some chemical substances
in immuno compromised patients in developing countries that produce a definite physiological action on the human
[1]. Although a large number of antimicrobial agents have body [6-10]. The most important of these biologically active
been discovered, pathogenic microorganisms are constantly constituents of plants are alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins and
developing resistance to these agents [2]. Antibiotics are phenolic compounds [11-15].
sometimes associated with side effects whereas there are In the last few years, a number of studies have been
some advantages of using antimicrobial compounds of conducted in different countries to prove the antimicrobial
medicinal plants. The later has fewer side effects, better efficacy of the bioactive compounds [16-21]. However, there
patient tolerance, relatively less expensive, acceptance due is still an urgent need to identify novel substances active
to long history of use and being renewable in nature [3]. against pathogens with higher resistance. In view of this fact
Antibacterial constituents of medicinal plants and their the present study was aimed to evaluate the phytochemical
use for the treatment of microbial infections as possible constituents and antibacterial activity of the rhizome
alternatives to synthetic drugs to which many infectious extracts of Curcuma xanthorrhiza, commonly known as false
microorganisms have become resistant seem to be very turmeric.
much promising [4]. Over the past 20 years, there has been

2. Materials and methods

*Corresponding author: Dr. S. Jeeva, Assistant Professor, Department of Botany, Scott
Christian College, Nagercoil 629 003, Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu, India.
Rhizomes of Curcuma xanthorrhiza was collected from
Tel: +91 9952202112
the tropical forests of Bonaccord in the Agastyamala Hills
2 S. Jeeva et al ./Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2012) S637-S640

of Kerala, India. The fresh rhizomes were shade dried and Klebsiella pneumoniae (12mm), Shigella sonnei (11mm) and
powdered in a mechanical blender. The powdered rhizome Enterobacter aerogens (10mm). Three bacteria Pseudomonas
was subjected to hydro-distillation using a modified aeruginosa, S almonella typhi and X anthomonas
Clevenger-type glass apparatus for 6 hours for isolation of campestris displayed the inhibition zone of 9mm each
oils separately. The oil samples were stored at 0C in air- and Mycobacterium sp., Proteus vulgaris, Streptococcus
tight containers after drying them over anhydrous sodium thermophilus and Staphylococcus aureus showed each 8mm
sulfate and filtered before going to GC-MS analysis. of inhibitory activity, whereas Bacillus megaterium showed
GC-MS analysis was carried out on a GC clarus 500 Perkin 7mm activity against the essential oil isolated from the
Elmer system comprising a AOC-20i autosampler and gas rhizome of Curcuma xanthorrhiza.
chromatograph interfaced to a mass spectrometer (GC-MS) In order to find out the antifungal activity of chemicals
instrument employing the following conditions: column present in the rhizome of Curcuma xanthorrhiza six
Elite-1 fused silica capillary column (30 0.25 mm ID 1EM species of fungus were tested. Of these, Candida albicans
df, composed of 100% Dimethyl poly siloxane), operating in and Kluyveromyces maxianus exposed the maximum and
electron impact mode at 70 eV; helium (99.999%) was used minimum inhibitory zones of 9mm and 7mm respectively.
as carrier gas at a constant flow of 1ml/min and an injection Aspergillus flavus and Penicillium chrysogenum showed
volume of 0.5 EI was employed (split ratio of 10:1) injector the inhibitory zone of 8mm each. However it is evident that,
temperature 250C; ion-source temperature 280C. The oven Aspergillus niger and Fusarium oxysporum were resistant
temperature was programmed from 110C (isothermal for 2 to the essential oil extract. The overall inhibitory effect of
Curcuma xanthorrhiza extract revealed the better activity
min), with an increase of 10C/min, to 200C/min, then 5C/
against the pathogenic bacteria than fungus.
min to 280C/min, ending with a 9 min isothermal at 280C.
Mass spectra were taken at 70 eV; a scan interval of 0.5 s
and fragments from 40 to 550 Da. 4. Discussion
Interpretation on mass spectrum of GC-MS was done using
the database of National Institute Standard and Technology
(NIST) having more than 62,000 patterns. The mass spectrum Medicinal plants have been used for centuries as remedies
of the unknown component was compared with the spectrum for human diseases, because they contain components of
of the known components stored in the NIST library. The therapeutic value [22-26]. Extraction of bioactive compounds
name, molecular weight and structure of the components of
the test materials were ascertained. from medicinal plants permits the demonstration of their
Antimicrobial study was carried out by disc diffusion physiological activity. It also facilitates pharmacology study
method ( B auer et al., 1966 ) against the pathogens viz. leading to the synthesis of more potent drugs for meeting
Bacillus megaterium (MTCC 428), Proteus vulgaris (MTCC demand for effective and safe use. In the present study,
1771), Bacillus amyloliquefaciens (MTCC 2248), Streptococcus
thermophilus (MTCC 1938), Xanthomonas compestris (MTCC the plant collected from Western Ghats was identified
2289), Shigelli sonnei (MTCC 2957), Enterobacter aerogens according to their taxonomical characters as Curcuma
(MTCC 2990), E.coli1 (MTCC1), Mycobacterium sp. (MTCC 290), xanthorrhiza belongs to the family Zingiberaceae. There are
Salmonella typhi (MTCC 734), Klebsiella pneumoniae (MTCC several data in the literature indicating a great variety of
3040), Staphylococcus aureus (MTCC 3103), Pseudomonas
pharmacological activities of oil extracted from the members
aeruginosa (MTCC 2642). The fungal strains are Aspergillus
niger (MTCC 281), Aspergillus flavus (MTCC 2456), Candida of the family Zingiberaceae, which exhibit antiallergic
albicans (MTCC 3018), Penicillium chrysogenum (MTCC [27] , antimicrobial [28-33] , anti-inflammatory [34] , anti-
947), Fusarium oxysporum (MTCC 2480) and Kluveromyces hyperlipidaemic [35] anti-nociceptive, anti-psychiatric [36],
maxianus (MTCC 1389). The microbial strains were procured
antioxidant [37, 38], hepatoprotective and immunomodulatory
from Microbial Type Culture Collection (MTCC), Institute
[39] and cytotoxic [40] activities.
of Microbial Technology, Sector 39-A, Chandigarh, U.T.,
160-036, India. The antimicrobial activity of oil extracted from Curcuma
xanthorrhiza could be attributed to the broad spectrum of
bioactive chemical compounds. On hydrodistillation of
3. Results
fresh rhizomes, about 0.44% of white coloured, pleasant
The GC-MS analysis of the essential oil extracted from the smelling oil was obtained from Curcuma xanthorrhiza.
rhizome of Curcuma xanthorrhiza showed Xanthorrhizol B ased on GC / MS analysis the major compound was
( 64 . 38 % ) is the major compound followed by C amphene
identified a sesquiterpenoid compound, xanthorhizol. It
(8.27%), Curcumin (5.85%), Pinene (1.93%), thujene (0.16%),
is evident that Xanthorrhizol isolated from the methanol
- Pinene (0.14%), Myrcene (0.37%), Linalool (0.27%) and
Zingiberene (0.10%) on comparison with the mass spectra of extract Curcuma xathorrhiza showed potent antibacterial [41]
the constituents with the NIST library. and anticandidal activity [42].
The antimicrobial activity of essential oil extract from
Curcumin (diferuoyl methane), a yellow pigment is a
Curcuma xanthorrhiza rhizome was tested against thirteen
pathogenic bacteria and six fungi. In terms of antibacterial phenolic compound and a major phytochemical constituent
activity, the essential oil showed remarkable antibacterial of Curcuma species, has been linked with suppression
activity with zone of inhibition of 14 mm each against of inflammation; angiogenesis; tumorigenesis; diabetes;
E . coli and B acillus amyloliquefaciens, followed by
S. Jeeva et al ./Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2012) S637-S640

diseases of the cardiovascular, pulmonary, and neurological

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