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Al Muzaini, Al Dulaimi, Al Qahtani, and Li: Antimicrobial compounds from Magnolia liliflora Desr.

Introduction: Natural products from plants and other biological sources remain an important source of new pharmaceuticals. Magnolia liliflora Desr. is distributed in many parts of East Asia and North America, and is often used as a traditional Chinese medicine to treat allergic rhinitis, sinusitis and headache. Some biological activities against foodborne pathogenic bacteria and chemical composition of M. liliflora from South Korea have been investigated previously.

Objectives: To determine the antimicrobial activity and chemical composition of the essential oil from M. liliflora from China.

Materials and methods: Pulverized dried flowering buds (10 g) of M. liliflora purchased from a registered herbs pharmacy in China were extracted by hydrodistillation with deionized water. The aqueous distillates were extracted with hexane five times. The hexane fractions were combined, dried over anhydrous sodium sulphate and evaporated using vacuum rotary evaporator below 40°C to yield the essential oil. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) was used to identify the composition of essential oil. The GC–MS system consisted of an Agilent 7890A gas chromatograph system coupled to a Agilent MS model 5975C MSD (Agilent Technologies, Santa Clara, CA, USA) with a triple-axis detector. The analysis was carried out in triplicate. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of M. liliflora oil against Staphylococcus epidermidis and Escherichia coli was determined using microplate Alamar blue assay. Ampicillin was used as positive control.

Results: Fifteen compounds from M. liliflora oil were identified by GC–MS. The main compounds are eucalyptol (11.98 ± 0.17%), caryophyllene (2.62 ± 0.04%), gamma-terpinene (3.30 ± 0.08%) and (E)-beta-farnesene (23.9 ± 0.36%). MICs of the M. liliflora oil against S. epidermidis and E. coli were determined as 1.024 mg/ml and 2.048 mg/ml (n = 4), respectively. Ampicillin as positive control showed MIC ≤ 0.0005 mg/ml on both bacterial isolates.

Conclusions: M. liliflora oil could be an important source of antimicrobial compounds.

Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Dr Paul Horrocks for assistance with Alamar blue assay.

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