Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Plant Research
Benicia Harrison - Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University
Co-Author(s): Kadiatou Keita, Alabama A&M University, AL; Jada Bibb, Alabama A&M University, AL; Raveen Martin, Alabama A&M University, AL
Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Moringa oleifera (Moringa) are plants known for their medicinal uses and antimicrobial ability. Ashwagandha possesses the W. somnifera glycoprotein, which was found to be capable of increasing cell mediated immunity in mice, inhibiting spore germination of pathogenic fungi, and increasing the nitric oxide synthase activity of macrophages. On the other hand, moringa produces essential amino acids, beta-carotene, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which are all qualities fit for supplemental use to improve overall health. However, research has shown the bark, flowers, leaves, seeds, and stem of Moringa were also effective antimicrobial agents when extracted.
The objective of this study was to compare the antimicrobial activity of both Ashwagandha and Moringa extracts on four human pathogenic bacteria: Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus subtilis, bacteria Escherichia coli and Enterobacter aerogenes. An experiment was devised in which the leaves of Ashwagandha and Moringa were pulverized then put through a soxhlet extraction using 70% methanol. Afterwards, Nutrient agar plates were used as a growth medium to culture bacteria for the testing of their individual antimicrobial affects. The Ashwagandha and Moringa extracts were tested on gram-positive bacteria Listeria monocytogenes and Bacillus subtilis and gram-negative bacteria Escherichia coli and Enterobacter aerogenes. Only Ashwagandha extract was effective against the two gram-positive bacteria. Moringa extract did not show any antimicrobial activities on our select bacteria. For our future studies, we will test these plant extracts on more microbes to not only determine their antimicrobial activities, but also identify the plant that possesses the higher antimicrobial property.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This work is supported by Evans-Allen grant no. 200094-20116 XX-140/ALAX-011-0816 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture & Advancing Success in STEM Undergraduate Research and Education (ASSURE) NSF no. 1436572. We acknowledge the support given by Alabama Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (ALSAMP) program.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Florence Okafor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I assisted in the the extraction process, carried out several of the bacteria cultures, and tested the extracts on the bacteria cultures for Ashwagandha. I also measured and photographed the zone of inhibition shown on the agar plates and made the comparison of the results for Ashwagandha and Moringa for each of the bacteria their extracts were tested on.