PHYTOCHEMICAL CHARACTERIZATION AND COMPARATIVE EFFICACIES OF CRUDE EXTRACTS OF CARICA PAPAYA
Carica papaya, besides the fruits being edible, has a long history and proof of being a very effective medicinal plant. The root is said to cure piles and yaws and root infusions are used for syphilis. Studies conducted in some countries have shown that there is a significant antibacterial activity in organic extracts of different parts of C. papaya. In the present study, aqueous and organic extracts of dried seed and epicarp of one of the local varieties of pawpaw were characterised for the presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, reducing sugars, phenols, saponins, tannins and terpenoids and also tested for antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus (Gram-positive), Escherichia coli (Gram-positive) and Shigella flexneri (Gram-negative) using the disc diffusion method. The crude organic (acetone and methanol) extracts and extract fractions of the crude extracts containing phenolics and terpenoids of the seed inhibited the growth of all three organisms. No inhibition was observed in the aqueous extracts of the seed and in all the extracts of the epicarp. Therefore, the seeds of the local variety contain antibacterial agent(s) with broad spectrum of activity.