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The antimicrobial effect of Alchornea laxiflora on some pathogens was investigated using the disc diffusion method. Ethanol and water were used as solvent for extraction. The preliminary phytochemical screening of the extract revealed the presence of alkaloids, tannins, favonoids, saponins, phenol, hydrogen cyanide (HCN). All the test organisms were susceptible at concentration greater than and equal to 100mg/ml with varied zones of inhibition ranging from 3mm to 13mm on the ethanolic extract. Also for the aqueous extract, all the test organisms were susceptible at concentration greater than and equal to 100mg/ml with varied zones of inhibition ranging from 2mm to 11mm. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of ethanol extract are (50 mg/ml, 100 mg/ml, 50mg/ml and 100mg/ml) for Salmonella spp., Escherichia coliShigella species and Candida albicans respectively while the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) for the aqueous extract of Alchornea laxiflora are (100mg/ml, 150 mg/ml 100mg/ml and 150mg/ml) for Salmonella spp., E. coliShigella species and Candida albicans respectively. The antimicrobial activity showed that microbial growth was inhibited by the ethanol and aqueous extract with the ethanol extract having more significant inhibitory effect. The research work demonstrated that ethanolic and aqueous extract of  Alchornea laxiflora  has potential for therapeutic uses.


Title Page                                                                                                                                i

Certification                                                                                                                            ii

Dedication                                                                                                                              iii

Acknowledgements                                                                                                                iv

Table of contents                                                                                                                    v

Lists of Tables                                                                                                                         vii

Abstract                                                                                                                                  viii


1.0              Introduction                                                                                                                1

1.1       Aims and objectives of the study                                                                               2


2.0       Literature review                                                                                                         3

2.1       Description of the plant                                                                                              3

2.2       Plants with their medicinal uses                                                                                  3

2.3       Classification of phytochemicals                                                                                4

2.4       Medicinal values of Alchornea Laxifora                                                                     7

2.5       Biology and pathogenecity of the test organisms                                                       8


3.0       Materials and methods                                                                                                11

3.1       Sample collection.                                                                                                       11

3.2       Sterilization of materials                                                                                             12

3.3.0    Preparation of extracts                                                                                                12

3.3.1    Ethanolic and aqueoues extract preparation                                                               12

3.3.2   Preparation of different concentration of extract                                                       13

3.4       Preparation of paper disc                                                                                            13

3.5       Media preparation                                                                                                       13

3.6       Determination of antimicrobial activity                                                                      14

3.7       Determination of minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC)                                      15


4.0 Results                                                                                                                              16


5.0       Discussion                                                                                                                   22

5.1       Conclusion                                                                                                                  23

5.2       Recommendation                                                                                                        23

References                                                                                                                  24



Table                          Title                                                                                                    Page


4.1:      Antimicrobial activity of the ethanolic extracts                                                          16


4.2:      Antimicrobial activity of the aqueous extracts                                                           16


4.3:      Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) test result                                                  17

4.4:       Phytochemical analysis results                                                                                   17






The use of plants part as a source of medicine to treat infectious diseases predates history as a result of which nearly all cultures and civilization from ancient times to the present day have used herbal medicines to cure infections. Ethnopharmacological use of plants prevails among most African countries where plants are used in treating malaria, dysentery, diarrhea, bums, gonorrhea, stomach disorders and other infectious diseases (Oyayade et al., 1999). Infectious diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses are still in increase and they are still the major threat to public health. Efforts are still ongoing to search for new biologically active compounds from natural sources as new antimicrobial agent with a view to discovering new chemical structures which could overcome the multiple resistances developed by the pathogenic microbes toward available antimicrobial agents (Ogundipe et al., 2001).

Medicinal plants have been proved to be effective in the treatment of infectious diseases with little or no side effects as experienced with synthetic drugs (Iwu et al., 1999).   Plants synthesize a wide variety of phytochemicals which include alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids, steroids, saponins, and phenols, which are all useful sources of medicine (Nair et al., 2005). The biologically active components of plant extracts and essential oils are used in most of the pharmaceutical industries because of their antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.

 Alchornea laxifora belongs to Euphorbiaceae family; it is a deciduous shrub and about 6–10 m high. It grows naturally in Nigeria, in DR Congo, in Ethiopia, and throughout East Africa to Zimbabwe (Burkill, 1994). The plant is monoecious having its male and female in florescences on separate branches. Alchornea laxifora is called “Opoto” among the Yoruba tribe, “Ububo” among the Igbo tribe, “Uwenuwen” among the Edo tribe, “Urievwu” among the Edo tribe in Nigeria. The leaf infusion of the plant is often used in folklore medicine as antimalarial (Adeloye et al., 2005). The stem, especially the branches, is used in Nigeria as chewing sticks (local tooth brush) for cleaning teeth while the leaves are used to preserve kola nut and other perishable fruits and vegetables. Decoction of the leaves is usually administered to treat inflammatory and infectious diseases (Ogundipe et al., (2001). Oladunmoye and Kehinde reported the use of A. laxifora among the Yoruba tribe of Southwestern Nigeria for the treatment of poliomyelitis and measles. Other authors (Oloyede et al., (2010), reported the antioxidant properties of the leaf extract of A. laxifora in addition to its antimicrobial effects on four bacteria which are Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Farombi et al., (2003) also reported the antioxidant properties of A. laxifora leaves and roots. The results obtained from their investigation indicate the presence of potent natural antioxidant which may be relevant in preservation of lipid food products. Antitoxicity, anticonvulsant, and sedative effects of the leaf extract of A. laxifora in animal models have also been reported Esosa et al., (2013).


The aim and objectives of this study is to evaluate the antimicrobial activity of Alchornea laxiflora on selected pathogenic microorganisms.


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