The Cytotoxic, Antibacterial and Free Radical Scavenging Activities of Crude Extracts of Matricaria chamomilla, Salvadora persica and Artemisia annua

  • Ahmed Seddek

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The discovery of drugs from natural sources has been a rapidly growing science in this era. Plants used for medicinal purposes have been usually studied as rich sources of bioactive chemical compounds that can be used as medications. Several plant-derived drugs have been approved so far. Cancer and infectious diseases have been common targets for the science of drug discovery, due to the high mortality rates caused by these diseases all over the world. Several plant-derived compounds are being marketed now as anti-cancer agents. However, finding novel antimicrobial and anti-cancer compounds has become an important goal to overcome the problems of existing anti-cancer and antimicrobial agents, such as resistance and non-selectivity. In this thesis project, an attempt to find out useful biological activities of the crude extracts of some plants used traditionally for medicinal purposes in Saudi Arabia has been made. Matricaria chamomilla, Salvadora persica and Artemisia annua have been selected for study, based on the literature review performed. These plants were screened for three biological activities; anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and free radical scavenging activities. The experimental part of the study consisted of some common in-vitro techniques, such as cytotoxicity and cell viability assays, disk diffusion assay and 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl assay. In addition, the crude extract of Matricaria chamomilla has undergone chemical fractionation and four solvent fractions were obtained using column chromatography. The crude extract of Matricaria chamomilla showed a promising anti-bacterial activity against Escherichia coli and a very promising free radical scavenging activity that was comparable to ascorbic acid, an important anti-oxidant. The four solvent fractions obtained from that extract showed that these activities were produced by more than one compound belonging to different solvent fractions. In addition, the crude extract of Artemisia annua showed some anti-bacterial activity against Escherichia coli. The crude extract of Salvadora persica showed negative results for anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and free radical scavenging activities. Further fractionation and structure elucidation should be performed to isolate the molecules that might be responsible for any significant biological activity noticed. In addition, other cells types and strains of bacteria and other techniques can be used for screening in the future.
Date of AwardDec 2011
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorKenneth Paul Minneman (Supervisor) & Azza Altawashi (Supervisor)

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