The aqueous and organic leaves extracts of Balanites aegyptiaca and Moringa oleifera traditionally used for the treatment of infectious disease were tested for their activity against Salmonella typhi isolated from blood clot culture using the disc diffusion method. Extracts of B. aegyptiaca demonstrated higher activity (16 mm zone of inhibition) than those of Moringa oleifera (8 mm zone of inhibition) at 100 mg/ml. Of the three solvents used, ethanolic extracts of both plants demonstrated the highest activity, while the aqueous extracts showed the least activity at 100 mg/ml. The activities of these plant extracts were comparable to those of antibiotics, ciprofloxacin, cotrimoxazole and chloramphenicol, commonly used for treating typhoid fever. The antibacterial activity appears to increase when extracts of the two plants were used in combination at 100 mg/ml each (18 mm zone of inhibition). Preliminary phytochemical screening showed that both plant extracts contains saponins, tannins and phenols while only M. oleifera possesses alkaloids and B. aegyptiaca possesses anthraquinones. The antibacterial activities of the extracts on S. typhi was reasonably stable when treated at 4, 30, 60 and 100oC for 1 h, however it reduces significantly when the pH was altered towards alkalinity.
Key words: Balanites aegyptiaca, Moringa oleifera, Salmonella typhi, antimicrobial activity, minimum inhibitory concentration, minimum bactericidal concentration.
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