12. Using African Plant Biodiversity to Combat Microbial Infections

  1. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim
  1. J.N. Eloff and
  2. L.J. McGaw

Published Online: 4 APR 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118460566.ch12

Novel Plant Bioresources: Applications in Food, Medicine and Cosmetics

Novel Plant Bioresources: Applications in Food, Medicine and Cosmetics

How to Cite

Eloff, J.N. and McGaw, L.J. (2014) Using African Plant Biodiversity to Combat Microbial Infections, in Novel Plant Bioresources: Applications in Food, Medicine and Cosmetics (ed A. Gurib-Fakim), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118460566.ch12

Editor Information

  1. Center for Phytotherapy Research (CEPHYR), Mauritius

Author Information

  1. Phytomedicine Programme, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, South Africa

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 APR 2014
  2. Published Print: 23 MAY 2014

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118460610

Online ISBN: 9781118460566

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Keywords:

  • antifungal;
  • antimicrobial;
  • synergistic activity;
  • method development;
  • commercial product

Summary

Despite many thousands of publications investigating the antibiotic activity of plant extracts and the widespread use of African medicinal plants to treat animal and human microbial infections, no single-entity commercial antimicrobial product has yet been developed from plants. This is in contrast to many commercial medicinal products that have been developed from plants for other diseases. After an extensive survey of the literature, it appears that plants combat infections by using synergistic interactions between different compounds and not single highly active compounds. The random screening of acetone leaf extracts of more than 700 tree species yielded many extracts with high activities. Although the chance of developing single-entity antibiotics seems elusive, there are examples where plant extracts can be used to deliver highly effective products that can compete with current commercially used antimicrobial agents. By manipulating extracts the biological activity can be enhanced and patentable products can be developed.