The petroleum spirit (60 - 80°C), chloroform and methanol extracts of Schwenkia americana Linn. (Solanaceae) were screened for antimicrobial activity and for their chemical constituents. Phytochemical studies showed that it contained cardiac glycosides, saponins, steroids, triterpenes, flavonoids, cyanogenic glycosides, tannins and alkaloids. Antimicrobial screening showed that at 100 mg/ml, the methanol and chloroform extracts were active against Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans while the petroleum spirit extract was only active against E. coli, Bacillus subtilis, S. typhii and C. albicans. Work is going on to isolate and characterize the component(s) responsible for the observed activity.
Key words: Schwenkia americana, Solanaceae, phytochemical screening, antimicrobial activity.
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