Preliminary phytochemical and flavonoid compounds of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of 6 aromatic Malaysian herbs were screened and quantified using Reverse-Phase High Performance Liquid Chromatography (RP-HPLC). The herbal extracts were tested for their antimicrobial activity against 10 food-borne pathogenic and food spoilage microorganisms using disk diffusion assay. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC)/minimum fungicidal concentration (MFC) of herbal extracts were determined. In the phytochemical screening process, both aqueous and ethanolic extracts of P. hydropiper exhibited presence of all 7 tested phytochemical compounds. Among all herbal extracts, the aqueous P. hydropiper and E. elatior extracts demonstrated the highest antibacterial activity against 7 tested Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria with diameter ranging from 7.0 to 18.5 mm and 6.5 to 19 mm, respectively. The MIC values for aqueous and ethanolic extracts ranged from 18.75 to 175 mg/mL and 0.391 to 200 mg/mL, respectively while the MBC/MFC values for aqueous and ethanolic extracts ranged from 25 to 200 mg/mL and 3.125 to 50 mg/mL, respectively. Major types of bioactive compounds in aqueous P. hydropiper and E. elatior extracts were identified using RP-HPLC instrument. Flavonoids found in these plants were epi-catechin, quercetin, and kaempferol. The ability of aqueous Persicaria hydropiper (L.) H. Gross and Etlingera elatior (Jack) R.M. Sm. extracts to inhibit the growth of bacteria is an indication of its broad spectrum antimicrobial potential. Hence these herbal extracts may be used as natural preservative to improve the safety and shelf-life of food and pharmaceutical products.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.