Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

From monographs to chromatograms: the antimicrobial potential of Inula helenium L. (elecampane) naturalised in Ireland.

Abstract

With antimicrobial resistance rising globally, the exploration of alternative sources of candidate molecules is critical to safeguard effective chemotherapeutics worldwide. Plant natural products are accessible, structurally diverse compounds with antimicrobial potential. The pharmacological applications of plants in medicine can be guided by the attestation of traditional use, as demonstrated in this study. In Irish ethnomedical literature, Inula helenium L. (elecampane) is often indicated for respiratory and dermal ailments. This is the first assessment of antimicrobial sesquiterpene lactones from the roots of elecampane, naturalised in Ireland. Traditional hydro-ethanolic extracts were prepared from multi-origin elecampane roots. A novel clean-up strategy facilitated the bioactivity-guided fractionation of a subset of anti-staphylococcal fractions (the compositions of which were investigated using HPLC-DAD, supported by 1H NMR). The natural products attributing to the antimicrobial activity, observed in vitro, were identified as alantolactone (1), isoalantolactone (2), igalan (3), and an unseparated mixture of dugesialactone (4) and alloalantolactone (5), as major compounds. The findings suggest that the geographical origin of the plant does not influence the anti-bacterial potency nor the chemical composition of traditional elecampane root. Considering the prevalence of staphylococci-associated infections and associated broad spectrum resistance in Irish hospitals, currently, further research is warranted into the usage of the identified compounds as potential candidates in the control of staphylococcal carriage and infection.