Mycosis constitutes a common health problem, especially in developing countries like Nigeria. The current cascade of antifungals are either too toxic or require long term use for total eradication. This study evaluates antifungal activity and phytochemical constituents of Luffa cylindrica leaves extract which were screened for the presence of bioactive phytochemicals and extracted by cold maceration in n-hexane, ethyl acetate, methanol and water. The ethyl acetate extract was further fractionated using bio-assay guided column chromatography. In vitro antifungal activities were investigated against three types of fungi which were, Candida albicans ATCC 2876, Candida tropicalis ATCC 19092, Trichophyton rubrum ATCC 28188; and four clinical isolates of C. albicans, C. tropicalis, Microsporum canis and Epidermophyton flocossum using agar diffusion and micro broth dilution methods. The crude extracts revealed the presence of sterols, saponins, flavonoids, phenols and alkaloids. The ethyl acetate extract produced the strongest antifungal activity with diameter zones of inhibition ranging from 13.00 to 16.00 mm at an exposure concentration of 2500 µg/mL. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum fungicidal concentration (MFC) values of the ethyl acetate extract against the test fungi were 500 to 1000 µg/mL and 2000 to 4000 µg/mL, respectively. L5 and L6 fractions produced fungal inhibitory activity comparable to the crude ethyl acetate extracts of L. cylindrica with MIC values of 1000 to 2000 µg/mL and 500 to 2000 µg/mL, respectively. The ethyl acetate extracts of L. cylindrica possess antifungal properties that could serve as leads for the development of novel antifungal drugs.
Key words: Luffa cylindrica leaves, antifungal, phytochemical screening, minimum inhibitory concentration.
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