COMPARATIVE STUDY OF MYCOFLORA, ANTIBACTERIAL ACTIVITY AND PHYTOCHEMISTRY OF SELECTED FRESH AND STORED MEDICINAL FRUITS
Objective: To understand the mycoflora, phytochemical constituents and antibacterial potential of fresh and stored herbal fruits of selected plants, extensively used in herbal medicines.
Methods: Mycoflora analysis of Terminalia bellerica, Phyllanthus emblica and Myristica fragrans fruits was done employing serial dilution method, colony forming unit (CFU) and relative density of each fungi was recorded. The diversity of fungi associated with test fruits was calculated using various diversity indices. Methanol extracts of test fruits was subjected to preliminary phytochemical analysis, presence or absence of alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, terpenoids, quinones and cardiac glycosides was detected. Antibacterial potential of test fruits was studied by well diffusion method.
Results: Fresh fruits were free of fungal contamination, whereas stored fruits were found in association with various fungi. A total of 64 isolates of 29 species belonging to 13 genera were identified from stored fruits. Aspergillus was predominant followed by Penicillium. T. bellerica was highly contaminated (1x105CFU/g). Stored fruits of M. fragrans recorded high fungal diversity with highest Simpson's diversity index (D-1=0.840) and Shannon-Wiener index (H=2.888). P. emblica exhibited high species richness with high Margalef Richness (R=2.925), Menhinick index (E=1.830) and Berger Parker Dominance (d'=0.418). Phytochemical analysis of fresh and stored fruits did not show a significant difference in the presence or absence of tested phyto-constituents. Stored fruit extract recorded up to 41% increase in antibacterial activity.Conclusion: Results suggests the need of proper training to the herbal material handler's right from the harvest to retail selling, and also points out the need to assess the fungal contamination of herbal materials before using them for herbal drug manufacture.
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