Maria Barbara Pisano 1 , Sofia Cosentino 1 , Silvia Viale 1 , Delia Spanò 2 , Angela Corona 2 , Francesca Esposito 2 , Enzo Tramontano 2 , Paola Montoro 3 , Carlo Ignazio Giovanni Tuberoso 2 , Rosaria Medda 2 , Francesca Pintus 2 , *
24 May 2016
The aim of the present study was to evaluate antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-HIV, and cholinesterase inhibitory activities of aqueous and alcoholic extracts from leaves, stems, and flowers of Euphorbia characias. The extracts showed a high antioxidant activity and were a good source of total polyphenols and flavonoids. Ethanolic extracts from leaves and flowers displayed the highest inhibitory activity against acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase, showing potential properties against Alzheimer's disease. Antimicrobial assay showed that leaves and flowers extracts were active against all Gram-positive bacteria tested. The ethanolic leaves extract appeared to have the strongest antibacterial activity against Bacillus cereus with MIC value of 312.5 μg/mL followed by Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus that also exhibited good sensitivity with MIC values of 1250 μg/mL. Moreover, all the extracts possessed anti-HIV activity. The ethanolic flower extract was the most potent inhibitor of HIV-1 RT DNA polymerase RNA-dependent and Ribonuclease H with IC 50 values of 0.26 and 0.33 μg/mL, respectively. The LC-DAD metabolic profile showed that ethanolic leaves extract contains high levels of quercetin derivatives. This study suggests that Euphorbia characias extracts represent a good source of natural bioactive compounds which could be useful for pharmaceutical application as well as in food system for the prevention of the growth of food-borne bacteria and to extend the shelf-life of processed foods.