E. O. Amonsou


1 Phytochemical Screening and in vitro Antibacterial and Antioxidant Potential of Microalgal Strain, Cymbella

Authors: S. Beekrum, B. Odhav, R. Lalloo, E. O. Amonsou


Marine microalgae are rich sources of the novel and biologically active metabolites; therefore, they may be used in the food industry as natural food ingredients and functional foods. They have several biological applications related with health benefits, among others. In the past decades, food scientists have been searching for natural alternatives to replace synthetic antioxidants. The use of synthetic antioxidants has decreased due to their suspected activity as promoters of carcinogenesis, as well as consumer rejection of synthetic food additives. The aim of the study focused on screening of phytochemicals from Cymbella biomass extracts, and to examine the in vitro antioxidant and antimicrobial potential. Cymbella biomass was obtained from CSIR (South Africa), and four different solvents namely methanol, acetone, n-hexane and water were used for extraction. To take into account different antioxidant mechanisms, seven different antioxidant assays were carried out. These include free radical scavenging (DPPH assay), Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC assay), radical cation (ABTS assay), superoxide anion radical scavenging, reducing power, determination of total phenolic compounds and determination of total flavonoid content. The total content of phenol and flavonoid in extracts were determined as gallic acid equivalent, and as rutin equivalent, respectively. The in vitro antimicrobial effect of extracts were tested against some pathogens (Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella enteritidis, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans), using the disc diffusion assay. Qualitative analyses of phytochemicals were conducted by chemical tests to screen for the presence of tannins, flavonoids, terpenoids, phenols, steroids, saponins, glycosides and alkaloids. The present investigation revealed that all extracts showed relatively strong antibacterial activity against most of the tested bacteria. The methanolic extract of the biomass contained a significantly high phenolic content of 111.46 mg GAE/g, and the hexane extract contained 65.279 mg GAE/g. Results of the DPPH assay showed that the biomass contained strong antioxidant capacity, 79% in the methanolic extract and 85% in the hexane extract. Extracts have displayed effective reducing power and superoxide anion radical scavenging. Results of this study have highlighted potential antioxidant activity in the methanol and hexane extracts. The obtained results of the phytochemical screening showed the presence of terpenoids, flavonoids, phenols and saponins. The use of Cymbella as a natural antioxidant source and a potential source of antibacterial compounds and phytochemicals in the food industry appears promising and should be investigated further.

Keywords: Antimicrobial, Phytochemicals, Antioxidants, Microalgae, Cymbella

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