Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Biology

Advisor's Name

Bradley Bennett

Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Advisor's Name

Suzanne Koptur

Advisor's Name

Steven Oberbauer

Advisor's Name

John Berry

Advisor's Name

Laura Ogden

Keywords

Ethnobotany, Medicinal Plants, Disease Concepts, Infectious Diarrhea

Date of Defense

6-27-2011

Abstract

Infectious diarrhea results in 2 to 5 million deaths worldwide per year, and treatments that are safe, effective, and readily available are under investigation. The field of medicinal ethnobotany focuses on plants that are used by different cultural groups for treating various diseases and evaluates these plants for efficacy and cytotoxicity. In the present study, ethnobotanical research was conducted with Central Anatolian villagers in Turkey. Folk concepts and etiologies surrounding diarrhea were analyzed, as were salient plant-based remedies for diarrhea. Reviewing the literature, 91 plant species were described as anti-diarrheal in all of Turkey. In Central Anatolia, villagers described 35 species. For continued research via bactericidal and bacteriostatic bioassays, 15 plants were selected. Methanolic and aqueous extracts of medicinally used plant parts were evaluated for inhibitory properties against 10 diarrhea-causing bacteria in the first bioassay, and later 21 bacteria in a second assay utilizing spectrophotometry. The cytotoxic properties were also evaluated in an Alamar Blue Assay using HepG-2, PC-3, and SkMEL-5 human cell lines. While several extracts showed bactericidal and bacteriostatic properties, the methanolic extract of R. canina galls inhibited the most bacteria at the lowest concentrations. They were not cytotoxic. Thus, R. canina methanolic gall extracts were selected for bio-assay guided fractionation. Antibacterial activity was maintained in the third fraction which was composed of almost pure ellagic acid. The bioassay was repeated with standard ellagic acid, and the polyphenol retained potency in inhibiting multiple bacterial strains. Several other extracts showed promise for safe, effective anti-bacterial remedies for diarrhea.

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