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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 715040, 4 pages
Research Article

Chemical Composition and Validation of the Ethnopharmacological Reported Antimicrobial Activity of the Body Fat of Phrynops geoffroanus Used in Traditional Medicine

1Programa de Pós-Graduação em Bioprospecção Molecular, Universidade Regional do Cariri, 63105-000 Crato, CE, Brazil
2Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biotecnologia de Recursos Naturais, BioMol-Lab, Departamento de Bioquímica e Biologia Molecular, P.O. Box 6043, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Campus do Pici, 60455-970 Fortaleza, CE, Brazil
3Programa de Pós-Graduação em Etnobiologia e Conservação da Natureza, Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco—UFRPE, 52171-900 Dois Irmãos, Recife, PE, Brazil
4Departamento de Química Biológica, Universidade Regional do Cariri, 63105-000 Crato, CE, Brazil
5Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Estadual da Paraíba, 58429-500 Campina Grande, PB, Brazil

Received 22 February 2013; Revised 9 September 2013; Accepted 23 September 2013

Academic Editor: Ana H. Ladio

Copyright © 2013 Diógenes de Queiroz Dias 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.


Background. Phrynops geoffroanus is a small turtle that inhabits lakes, rivers, and streams throughout South America. The body fat of this animal is used as a folk medicine in Brazil for treating illnesses such as sore throats, ear aches, mumps, rheumatism, and arthritis. The present study evaluated the antimicrobial activity of oil extracted from Phrynops geoffroanus (OPG), determined its chemical composition, and discussed the implications of its use in traditional medicine. The OPG was obtained from the ventral region of this turtle using hexane as a solvent. The antimicrobial activity of OPG was tested against standard and multiresistance strains of bacteria and fungi and its composition was determined indirectly by analyzing the methyl esters of the component fatty acids. The OPG presented a clinically relevant antifungal activity against Candida krusei ATCC 6258 (MIC 128 µg/mL). When the OPG was associated with the antibacterial and antifungal drugs, was observed a synergistic effect when associated the OPG with the gentamicin against the strain Pseudomonas aeruginosa 22. Our results indicated that OPG has clinically relevant antifungal activity against C. krusei, and demonstrated synergetic antibacterial activity in combination with commercial antibiotics against Pseudomonas aeruginosa.