Antibacterial Substances from Plants Collected in Indiana

Dorothy W. Sanders, Paul Weatherwax, L. S. McClung
1945 Journal of Bacteriology  
The possibility that naturally occurring compounds showing pronounced antibiotic activity may be discovered in common plants offers an intriguing possibility for economical production of substances of interest and importance. During the summer of 1944 it was possible to collect and test substances from a number of plants in Indiana. It is the purpose of this report to give the details of this preliminary survey. Osborn (1943) reported the results of examination of 2,300 samples from English
more » ... es from English plants and concluded that members of the Ranunculaceae offered most promise. Pederson and Fisher (1944) studied substances, in the juice of cabbage and other vegetables, which were active against gram-negative bacteria. Cavallito and Bailey (1944) demonstrated cysteine inactivation of active principles of various plant species. Lucas and Lewis (1944) reported preliminary results of a systematic survey of members of families of higher plants. EXPERIMENTAL One or more samples of approximately 120 plant species were collected, mostly in Monroe County, Indiana, and transported to the laboratory in the usual ecological collection boxes. For the majority of specimens, the testing was done immediately or within 24 hours. When not used at once, the samples were refrigerated until time for testing. The exact list of species will be given later, but in the survey an attempt was made to include as great a variety of samples within the classification system as possible, yet some thought was given to the availability or ease of production of the species to be tested. Certain specimens were included because of previous interest, folklore or otherwise, in the medicinal value of the species. Deam (1940) was used as the authority for assignment of names of species, etc., except for a few cultivated varieties. For testing, the juice of the specimen was expressed, without use of solvents, from the plant tissue by means of a Carver hydraulic press. Even in plants which were not especially succulent sufficient juice could be obtained by this method to supply the small amount needed for assay. The expressed juice was placed immediately, by means of a clean Wright pipette, into glass cylinders, as in the familiar Oxford cup (Abraham et al., 1941) for assay of penicillin. The samples were placed in duplicate cups; one cup was on agar seeded with spores of Bacillus subtilis in approximately the concentration specified by Foster and Woodruff (1944) . The second cup was on agar seeded with an 18-hour nutrient broth culture of Escherichia coli. The medium was the nutrient agar suggested by Schmidt and Moyer (1944) and the incubation temperature was 611 on May 9, 2020 by guest
doi:10.1128/jb.49.6.611-615.1945 fatcat:6klyobpwifdxtemg22wmuig7ce