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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 835767, 5 pages
Research Article

Beninese Medicinal Plants as a Source of Antimycobacterial Agents: Bioguided Fractionation and In Vitro Activity of Alkaloids Isolated from Holarrhena floribunda Used in Traditional Treatment of Buruli Ulcer

1Unité de Formation et de Recherche en Pharmacie, Faculté des Sciences de la Santé (FSS), Université d’Abomey Calavi (UAC), 04 BP 494 Cotonou, Benin
2Laboratoire de Pharmacognosie et des Huiles Essentielles (LAPHE), Faculté des Sciences de la Santé (FSS) and Faculté des Sciences et Techniques (FAST), Université d’Abomey Calavi (UAC), 01 BP 188 Cotonou, Benin
3Laboratoire de Référence des Mycobactéries (LRM), Centre National Hospitalier de Pneumo-Phtisiologie (CNHPP), 01 BP 817 Cotonou, Benin
4Department of Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Tropical Medicine (IMT), Nationalestraat 155, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
5Laboratory of Microbiology, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Faculty of Sciences, Ghent University, K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000 Gent, Belgium
6Pharmacognosy Research Group, Louvain Drug Research Institute (LDRI), Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), B1 7203 Avenue E. Mounier 72, 1200 Bruxelles, Belgium

Received 22 July 2014; Accepted 12 August 2014

Academic Editor: Parisa Farnia

Copyright © 2015 Achille Yemoa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Buruli ulcer (BU) imposes a serious economic burden on affected households and on health systems that are involved in diagnosing the disease and treating patients. Research is needed to find cost-effective therapies for this costly disease. Plants have always been an important source of new pharmacologically active molecules. Consequently we decided to undertake the study of plants used in traditional treatment of BU in Benin and investigate their antimycobacterial activity as well as their chemical composition. Extracts from forty-four (44) plant species were selected on account of reported traditional uses for the treatment of BU in Benin and were assayed for antimycobacterial activities. Crude hydroethanolic extract from aerial parts of Holarrhena floribunda (G. Don) T. Durand and Schinz was found to have significant antimycobacterial activity against M. ulcerans (MIC = 125 µg/mL). We describe here the identification of four steroidal alkaloids from Mycobacterium ulcerans growth-inhibiting fractions of the alkaloidal extract of the aerial parts of Holarrhena floribunda. Holadysamine was purified in sufficient amount to allow the determination of its MCI (=50 µg/mL). These results give some support to the use of this plant in traditional medicine.