Acacia catechu (L.) Willd. (Mimosaceae), Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb.(Papilionaceae), Toddalia asiatica (L.) Lamk. (Rutaceae) and Ventilago denticulataWilld. (Rhamnaceae), growing in West Midnapore district of West Bengal, an eastern state of India, yields dyes which showed strong antimicrobial activity against four bacterial strains (Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Vibrio cholerae). Among the dyes of the four plants tested, Toddalia asiatica showed the highest antimicrobial activity with the inhibition zones ranging from 14 to 16 mm. Thin layer chromatography of the dyes, which were either substantive dyes or adjective type of dyes requiring mordents for fixing to fabrics, showed that most of these pigments were composed of xanthophylls and anthocyanin. The extracts of different plant parts are also used for various medicinal purposes by the local tribal people. The over exploitation of these plants for dyeing and pharmaceutical uses has led to the depletion of these species, particularly P. marsupium and V. denticulata, from this region and immediately demands more focused conservation strategies.
Key words: Acacia catechu, Pterocarpus marsupium, Toddalia asiatica, Ventilago denticulata, dye, antibacterial activity, Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC), pigments, IUCN red list, vunerable, biodiversity, conservation, strategies.
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