Antibacterial activity and gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC–MS)-based metabolite profiles of Celtis africana and its endophytic extracts

Kudzanai Ian Tapfuma, Evonia Kanyane Nchabeleng, Oluwafemi Ayodeji Adebo, Raeesa Hussan, Ricquelle Daphne Williams, Aluwani Bridget Ravuluvulu, Derek Tantoh Ndinteh, Ren You Gan, Olivier Habimana, Nicolette Niemann, Freddy Munyololo Muganza, Lukhanyo Mekuto, Vuyo Mavumengwana*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Celtis africana Burm. f. is a medicinal plant native to Southern Africa and used for various ailments. Since crude extracts from mature leaves, stems, and fruits are the most common parts of this plant used for medicinal preparations, the same were selected for isolation of endophytes to assess the medicinal utility of their metabolite extracts as an extension to metabolite extracts from the different plant parts. Metabolites were extracted from the three plant parts using hexane, ethyl acetate, and dichloromethane (DCM) : methanol (MeOH) (1:1 v/v), while extracts from endophytes were extracted using hexane, ethyl acetate and DCM. Phytochemical and antimicrobial screening were performed using extracts from C. africana leaves, stems, and fruits. This was followed by identification of volatile compounds in plant and endophyte extracts using a two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled with time of flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC-TOF-MS). Four fungal endophytes from the Aspergillus genus and seven bacterial endophytes from the Kocuria, Bacillus, Arthrobacter, Staphylococcus, and Micrococcus genera were isolated from C. africana. Alkaloids, tannins, and reducing sugars tested positive in plant extracts while the presence of saponins and flavonoids was not observed. The hexane extract from the fruits was comparatively found to have the highest antibacterial activity with a minimum inhibitory concentration of 4 mg/mL on Staphylococcus aureus. Profiling of metabolites on GCxGC-TOF-MS showed the presence of several bioactive compounds in plant and endophytic extracts. Thirteen compounds found in plant extracts were also detected in the cultures of fungal and bacterial endophytes. It was concluded that C. africana fruit hexane extracts have antibacterial activity and that the plant's endophytes can produce some of their host's compounds. Furthermore, combining plant and endophytic crude extracts may extend the medicinal utility of C. africana.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112933
JournalIndustrial Crops and Products
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Antimicrobial activity
  • Celtis africana
  • Medicinal plants
  • Secondary metabolites


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