Phytopathologia mediterranea - 2003 - 42, 2 - fungitoxic activity of root extracts from ferula harmonis

Phytopathol. Mediterr. (2003) 42, 141–148 Fungitoxic activity of root extracts from Ferula harmonis
HALIL I. AL-MUGHRABI and TALAL A. ABURJAI 1 Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Agricultural Technology, Al-Balqa’ Applied University, Al-Salt 19117, Jordan 2 Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Jordan, Amman 11942, Jordan Summary. Air-dried and finely powdered roots of Ferula harmonis F. (Umbelliferae) were extracted in a Soxhlet
with several solvents in succession and the gummy extracts in each fraction were collected and tested for their
fungitoxic effects. The antifungal activity of nine F. harmonis extracts against Alternaria solani, Cladosporium sp.,
Colletotrichum sp., Fusarium oxysporum, Mucor sp., Penicillium italicum, Pythium sp., Rhizoctonia solani, Rhizopus
, Stemphylium solani, and Verticillium dahliae is reported. The strongest fungitoxic effects were found
against V. dahliae, P. italicum and R. stolonifer. The weakest effect was against A. solani. All extracts of F. harmonis
had varying degrees of fungitoxicity against all the fungi tested, which makes it a potential source of antifungal
compounds. Ferutinin and teferidine, two known sesquiterpenes, were isolated from the roots of F. harmonis and
their structures were identified. The fungitoxic activity of the ethyl acetate extract might be due to the presence of
ferutinin contained in it.
Key words: antifungal activity, ferutinin, sesquiterpenes, teferidine, Zallouh.
no et al., 1990). Various pharmacological activitieshave been attributed to the genus Ferula. F. com- The chemistry of the genus Ferula has been munis has been recognized as a medicinal plant in studied by various researchers (Valle et al., 1987; the eastern Mediterranean region since ancient Appendino et al., 1990) and the genus is a good times; however in the western Mediterranean area source of gum-resin (Frensh, 1971). Compounds it is reputed to be poisonous, and many cases of from the roots of this genus include daucanes, hu- livestock and human poisoning from ingestion, mulanes, hemachalanes and guaianes (Miski and known as ferulosis, have been reported (Zohary, Mabry, 1985; Lamnaouer et al., 1989; Ahmed, 1991; 1966; Miski and Jakupovic, 1990). Ferula harmo- Abourashed et al., 2001). In addition, monoterpe- nis F. (Umbelliferae) is a native plant of Syria and nes and carotane sesquiterpenes have been identi- Lebanon. It grows at more than 2,500 meters on fied (Miski et al., 1983; Diaz et al., 1986; Appendi- Mount Hermon, on the joint borders of Lebanon,Syria and Jordan. This plant, which is locallyknown as Zallouh, is a small shrub with thin leaves,small white or yellow flowers, and hairy roots (Zo- hary, 1966). Interest in F. harmonis in folk medi- Fax: + 506 392 5102; E-mail: cine has increased recently after the launching of Present address: New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Viagra® on the market, especially in Lebanon, Fisheries and Aquaculture, 39 Barker Lane, Wicklow, NewBrunswick E7L 3S4, Canada Syria and Jordan. Many herbalists and laymen


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