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Mariscus ligularis (L.) Urb. has been traditionally reported for healing and antimicrobial properties. In order to evaluate and scientifically prove the medicinal values of the parts used, qualitative and quantitative phytochemical and antimicrobial studies were carried out on the shoot and root of this sedge. Aqueous and ethanolic crude extracts of the shoot and root of M. ligularis were tested against fungi: Aspergillus niger and Candida albicans and bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella typhi. Antimicrobial activity evaluation was carried out at 50 mg/mL and 100 mg/mL concentrations by the Agar Well Diffusion method. Standard antibiotics – Clotrimazole (antifungal) and Ciprofloxacin (antibacterial) were used as controls.
Phytochemical screening indicated the presence of phenols, flavonoids, reducing sugars, tannins and saponins in varying quantities; steroids and alkaloids were absent. The crude ethanolic extracts were more active than the aqueous extracts against the bacteria than the fungi. The shoot ethanolic extract was the most effective against S. aureus (37.13 ± 0.38 at 100 mg/mL and 33.63 ± 0.88 at 50 mg/mL). The crude shoot extracts were generally more effective than the root extracts. From these findings, crude ethanolic extracts of the shoot of M. ligularis exhibited a good potential source of new drugs upon isolation and purification of its bioactive compounds for treating infections caused by these pathogens and particularly drug evasive C. albicans.
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