Dental diseases play an important role in public health. The use of conventional antibiotics for treatment can create microbial resistance; therefore, it is critical to search for alternatives to which there is no such an effect. In this regard, we have studied the in vitro effect of chalepensin, from the plant Ruta chalepensis L., against the dental caries etiological agent Streptococcus mutans. R. chalepensis is commonly used for treating rheumatism, hypertension, and as a skin antiseptic, anticonvulsant, deworming, and stimulant of menstrual discharge. Antimicrobial effect of chalepensin was measured by the methods of colony forming units (CFU) counts in solid medium culture and reduction of the tetrazolium salt MTT in liquid medium. Chalepensin was shown to cause significant (p < 0.05) 53 to 76% and 50 to 71% S. mutans growth inhibition at 7.8 to 500 µg/ml in liquid and solid media, respectively, with MICs of less than 7.8 µg/ml. Our results indicated that chalepensin possesses antimicrobial activity against S. mutans.
Key words: Ruta chalepensis, chalepensin, antibacterial activity, Streptococcus mutans.
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