Antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-SARS-CoV activity of commercial products of Xylopia (Xylopia aethiopica)

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Xylopia aethiopica (Annonaceae) is a spice and medicinal plant that grows wild in many West African countries (from Liberia to Nigeria) and is locally known as Guinea pepper, grains of Selim, hwentia and uda. The dried fruits are used as a flavoring for soups and traditionally in decoctions as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory, as well as a treatment for infections. The medicinal properties of the fruits are associated with the presence of phenolics and essential oil constituents. We studied the total phenols, total flavonoids, and antioxidant activity in different X. aethiopica extracts using spectrophotometry. We found variation in total phenolic and flavonoids and antioxidant capacity between different samples and different extraction solvents. Antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis were evaluated using a spectrophotometric assay and Kirby-Bauer test. Additionally, a pseudoviral cell-based assay was used to test the antiviral activity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses (SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2). High total phenolic and flavonoid content was correlated with high antioxidant capacity. Results of antibacterial tests indicated that one Xylopia extract potentially has strong antibacterial activity against gram-positive bacteria B. subtilis. The pseudoviral assay showed moderate antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2.