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Research Article - (2014) Volume 0, Issue 0

Anti-Tumor, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial and the Phenolic Constituents of Clove Flower Buds (Syzygium aromaticum)

Abd El Azim M H M1*, Amani M D El-Mesallamy1, El-Gerby M1 and Awad A2
1Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Zagazig University, Zagazig, Egypt
2Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Department, Desert Research Center, Cairo, Egypt
3Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Jazan University, Jizan 2097, Saudi Arabia
*Corresponding Author: Abd El Azim M H M, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Zagazig University, Zagazig, Egypt, Tel: 00201147073479 Email:


Eleven phenolic compounds were identified from the methanolic extract of Cloves flowers buds (Syzygium aromaticum L.) by chromatographic methods. Efficiency of the methanolic extract of licorice roots as anticancer agent for breast, colon and liver was tested. The results showed that the IC50 were (31 μg/mL for anti-colon cancer, 29.7 μg/ml for anti-breast cancer and 18.7 μg /ml for anti-hepatic cancer). This extract showed strong antioxidant activity against 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH.) as compared with vitamin C. Antimicrobial activity of the methanol extract of licorice roots was studied against three bacterial and four fungal strains at concentration 0.1 ml and 0.3 ml (10 mg/1 ml)). The extract showed strong inhibitory effect for most species at concentration 0.3 ml (10 mg/ ml).

Keywords: Phenolic; Anti-tumor; Antioxidant; Antimicrobial


Main objectives of this study were to evaluate antitumor, antioxidant, antimicrobial and phenolic constituents of clove flower buds. Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum L.) are the aromatic dried flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae. The genus comprises about 1100 species, 62 species are found in Australia and are generally known as lillipillies, brush cherries [1].

Syzygium species have been reported to possess antibacterial [2], and Syzygium aromaticum activity [3]. It was reported that the buds of Syzygium aromaticum were used in folk medicine as diuretic, odontalgic, stomachic, tonicardiac, aromatic condiment properties and condiment with carminative and stimulant activity [4]. It was reported that Syzygium aromaticum have been successfully used for asthma and various allergic disorders by oral administration [5]. It is also used as a carminative, rubefacient and serves as a preservative in herbal recipes, signifying possible antimicrobial properties [6]. Clove exerted immunomodulatory/Syzygium aromaticum effects by inhibiting LPS action. A possible mechanism of action probably involved the suppression of the nuclear factor-kB pathway by eugenol, since it was the major compound found in clove extract [7]. Eugenol is the active component of clove Syzygium aromaticum and it is also present in number of other aromatic plants like basil, cinnamon and bay leaves [8].

Materials and Methods

Plant material

Clove flowers buds (Syzygium aromaticum L.) 500 gm were provided from Lotus Company (Sekem Group, Egypt) in June 2010. The taxonomic identification of plant material was confirmed by Botany Department, Faculty of Science, Zagazig University (Egypt).

Ultra-violet spectrophotometric analysis

Chromatographically, pure materials dissolved in analytically pure methanol were subjected to UV spectrophotometric investigation in 4 ml capacity quartz cells Zeiss spectrometer PMQ-II. In case of flavonoids, AlCl3, AlCl3/HCl, fused NaOAc/H3BO3 and NaOMe reagents were separately added to methanolic solution of the investigated material and UV measurements were then carried out [9].

Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic analysis

Jeol ECA 500 MHz NMR Spectrometer at 500 MHz, (Institute Fur Chemie, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany). 1H chemical shifts () were measured in ppm, relative to TMS and 13C NMR chemical shifts to DMSO-d6 and converted to TMS scale by adding 39.5. Typical conditions: spectral width=8 KHz for 1H and 30 KHz for 13°C, 64 K data points and a flip angle of 45°C.

Mass spectrometric analysis

The isolated pure compounds were subjected, in most cases to Fast Atom Bombardment (positive and negative) Mass Spectroscopic Analysis (F AB-MS) on MM 7070 E spectrometer (VG analytical). Some other compounds were subjected to electron spray ionization mass spectroscopic analysis (ESI-MS) a Varian Mat1 12-ET Spectrometer. All measurements were carried out at Institute Fur Chemie, Humboldt Universitat zu Berlin, Germany [10].

Extraction and isolation

500 gm from dried clove buds exhaustively extracted under reflux over a water bath with 5 liters of a methanol/bidistilled water (3:1) mixture for 3 hours. The solvent was removed under reduced pressure at about 45°C. The residual finally yielded 30 gm of a sticky dark brown material.

Fractionation of the extract, (30 gm dissolved in 100 ml aqueous methanol 3:1) over Sephadex LH-20 (200 gm) column (150 X 4.5 cm) and elution with methanol/bidistilled water mixtures of decreasing polarities for gradient elution led to the desorption of sex individual fractions (I-VI) which were dried, individually, in vacuum, and then subjected to rechromatography for several times to obtain a pure phenolic compounds. The structure of these compounds was confirmed by comparison of their physical and spectral data.

SRB assay of cytotoxic activity

Human tumor cell lines were obtained frozen in liquid nitrogen (-180°C) from the American Type Culture Collection. The tumor cell lines were maintained in the National Cancer Institute, Cairo, Egypt, by serial sub-culturing. Measurement of potential cytotoxicity activity of methanolic extract of licorice roots against the liver carcinoma cell line (HEPG2), colon carcinoma cell line (HCT116) and breast carcinoma cell line (MCF7) was tested by SRB (Sulphorhodamine-B) assay using the method of Skehan et al. [5]. This experiment was conducted in the National Cancer Institute, Cairo, Egypt.

Di phenyl picryl hyrazide assay

The free radical scavenging effect of plant extracts was assessed by the decolouration solution of DPPH radical according to Letelier et al. [2], in Faculty of Agriculture Research Park–Cairo University (FARP). This assay was realized essentially by the method described by Joyeux et al. [6], and modified by [11-13].

Antimicrobial activities of the methanolic extract

Strains were obtained from the bacteria stock present at the Research Laboratory of bacteriology, Faculty of Science, Zagazig University. Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria species tested were E. coli (KQ103), Staphylococcus aureus (LC405) and Salmonella typhi (RS57) and fungi species (Laboratory collection strains) were Fusarium oxysporum, Aspergillus niger, Penicillium sp. and Trichoderma sp.

Antibacterial activity

In vitro antimicrobial assay of the methanolic extract was carried out according to pour plate technique at two concentrations 0.1 ml and 0.3 ml (10 mg/1 ml). Culturing and incubated of different bacteria species were carried out at 37 °C for 24 hours. After the elapse of incubation periods, the diameter of inhibition zones was measured [14].

Antifungal activity

Czapek Dox media used for cultivation of fungal species. The medium was seeded with different fungal species. After solidification of media on plates, make pores in agar with cup-borer (15 mm) diameter. Two concentrations 0.1 ml and 0.3 ml (10 mg/1ml) of the methanolic extract were transferred into the well. Dimethyl Foramide (DMF) was used only as a control. The plates were incubated for 7 days at 30°C. The inhibition zone formed by the extract against the particular test fungal strain determined as the antifungal activities of the extract [14].

Results and Discussion

Structure elucidation: Investigation of the phenolic compounds was done by fractionation of the extract, over polyamide column and elution with methanol/bidistilled water, and then subjected to re-chromatography for several times led to the separation of eleven pure phenolic compounds. The structure of these compounds was confirmed by comparison of their physical and spectral data with those of reported compounds:

1) Gallic acid (C7H6O5, 90 mg), Rf values (x 100): 44 (H2O), 55 (HOAC), 72 (BAW). UV (MeOH): λmax=272 nm. 1H- NMR (DMSO-d6): δ 6.98 (s, 2H, H-2 and H-6). 13C-NMR (DMSO-d6): δ 120.6 (C-1), 108.8 (C-2 and C-6), 145.5(C-3 and C-5), 138.1(C-4), 167.7(C=O). Ms (m/z): 170.9 [M+ +1, 5.1%], 169.0 [M+ - H, 100%, ion A], 167.9 [M+ - H2, 63.9%], 153[M+-OH, 11.2%], 145 [ion A–C2, 3.5%], 139 [ion A– HCHO, 11.3%], 126 [M+-CO2, 6.5%] and 123 [ion A–HCOOH, 27.1%].

2) Salicylic acid (C7H6O5, 50 mg), Rf values (x100): 36(HOAc-6), 69(BAW). UV (MeOH): λmax=253 nm and 13C-NMR (DMSO-d6): δ 118.9 (C-5), 121.2 (C-4), 122.3(C-6), 133.1(C-1), 136.8(C-4), 162.7(C- 2), 178.2(C=O).

3) 2,3-digallyl-4,6-hexahydroxydiphenoyl-β-d-glucopyranose (1-Desgalloyleugeniin) (C<,sub>34 H26O22, 150 mg), Rf values (x100): 42 (H2O), 56(HOAc-6), 50(BAW). UV (MeOH): λmax=275 nm and 1HNMR (DMSO-d6): δ, Glucose: δ 4.99 (d, J=8, H-1’), 5.05(t, J=8, H-2’), 5.52(t, J=8, H-3’), 4.35(t, J=8, H-4’), 4.35(m, H-5’), 5.12(m) & 3.72(d, J=12.5, H-6’), Galloyl: δ 6.8, 6.88 (s, H-2 and H-6) and Hexahydroxydiphenoyl: δ 6.22, 6.38(s, H-3 and H-3’). 13C-NMR (DMSO-d6): δ Glucose: 95.06(C-1), 73.05(C-2), 71.63 (C-3), 71.63(C-4), 66.80(C- 5), 62.50(C-6), Galloyl: 118.40, 118.75(C-1), 108.87(C-2 and C-6), 145.28, 145.54 (C-3 and C-5), 139.01(C-4), 155.15, 155.44(C=O) and Hexahydroxydiphenoyl: 115.50 (C-1 and C-1’), 124.34(C-2 and C-2’), 105.6,105.8 (C-3 and C-3’), 144.12 (C-4 and C-4’), 135.59 (C-5 and C-5’), 144.12 (C-6 and C-6’) , 157.03, 157.72 (C=O).

4) 1-C-2,3-O-hexahydroxy-4,6-O-hexahydroxydiphenoyl-openchain)- glucose (Casuariin) (C34H24O22, 170 mg), UV (MeOH): λmax= 221, 267 (sh.) nm and 1H-NMR (DMSO-d6): δ, Open chain glucose: δ 5.4 (d, J=4.9 Hz, H-1), 4.5 (dd, J=2 & 4.9 Hz, H-2), 5.17 (t, J=2 Hz, H-3), 5.25 (dd, J=2 & 3.5 Hz, H-4), 5.24(m ,H-5), 4.6(dd, J=3.5 and 12 Hz, H-6) and 3.98 (d, J=12 Hz, H-6) and Hexahydroxy-diphenoyl moiety: δ 6.21 (s, H-3), 6.56 (s, H-3’), 6.28 (s, H-3’). 13C-NMR (DMSO-d6): δ, Open chain glucose: δ 65.70 (C-1), 75.40(C-2), 68.60(C-3), 72.90(C-4), 69.80(C-5), 63.9(C-6) and Hexahydroxydiphenoyl moiety: δ 115.54, 115.70, 116.16, 116.59 (C-1 & C-1’), 122.92, 122.99, 125.19, 125.86 (C-2 & C-2’), 103.44, 104.96, 106.47, 114.75(C-3 & C-3’), 142.77, 144.45, 144.56, 145.00, 145.18, 144.26, 144.14 (C-4, C-4’, C-6 & C-6’), 134.07, 134.85, 136.26, 137.94 (C-5 & C-5’), 163.73, 167.94, 168.65, 169.28 (C=O).

5) Gallic acid 3-O-β-D-(6’-O-galloyl)-glucopyranoside (C20H20O14, 46 mg), Rf values (x100): 42 (H2O), 48(HOAc-6), 40(BAW), UV (MeOH): λmax=276 nm and 13C-NMR (DMSO-d6): δ, Glucose moiety: 94.9 (C-1), 75.2(C-2), 76.7(C-3), 69.8(C-4), 73.0(C-5), 63.7 (C-6), Gallic acid moiety: 119.7(C-1”), 109.5(C-2” and C-6”), 146.1 (C-3” and C-5”), 139.5 (C-4”), 166.2(C=O) and Galloyl moiety: 118.9(C-1’), 109.1(C-2’ and C-6’), 146.1 (C-3’ and C-5’), 139.0 (C-4’), 165.1(C=O).

6) 3, 3’, 4-Trimethoxy ellagic acid (C17H12O8, 42 mg), Rf values (x 100): 0(H2O), 10 (AcOH-6), 95 (BAW), UV (MeOH): max=246, 373. (NaOAc): max=256, 410 and 1H- NMR (DMSO-d6): δ 7.60(s, H-5’), 7.51(s, H-5), 4.04(s, 3-OMe), 4.02(s, 3’-OMe), 3.98(s, 4’-OMe).

7) Ellagic acid (C14H6O8, 67 mg), Rf values (x 100): 0(H2O), 9(HOAc- 6), 48(BAW). UV (MeOH): max=255, 362 and 1H- NMR (DMSO-d6): δ 7.48 (s, H- 5 and H-5’) also 13C-NMR (DMSO-d6): δ 112.3(C-1 and C-1’), 136.4(C-2 and C-2’), 140.2(C-3 and C-3’), 153(C-4 and C-4’), 111.4(C-5 and C-5’), 107.6(C-6 and C-6’) and 159.2(C-7 and C-7’).

8) Myricetin (C15H10O8, 20 mg), Rf values (x 100): 00 (H2O), 9 (HOAc-6), 54 (BAW), UV (MeOH): max=265, 376 nm and 1H- NMR (DMSO-d6): δ 6.18 (d, J=2.5 Hz, H-6), 6.34 (d, J=2.5Hz,H-8), 7.24 (s, H-2’&H-6’) also Ms (m/z): 317.0 [M- - H, 100%], 287.1 [M- - C2H6, 5.2%], 271.1 [M- - C2H6O, 9.2%], 242.1 [M- - C6H4, 5.1%], 203.1 [M- - C6H5O3, 4.2%, ion A] and 169.1[ion A – H2O2, 4.9%].

9) Quercetin (C15H10O7, 45 mg), UV (MeOH): max=255, 268, 370 nm, (MeOH + NaOAc): max=254, 276, 375 nm, (NaOAc + H3BO3): max=272, 388nm, (MeOH + AlCl3): max=270, 360, 440 nm and (AlCl3 + HCl): max=258, 400 nm, 1H-NMR (DMSO-d6): δ 6.19 (d, J=2.5, H-6), 6.4 (d, J=2.5, H-8), 7.64 (d, J=2.5, H-2’), 6.88(d, J=8.5, H-5’), 7.53 (dd, J=2.5&8.5, H-6’). 13C-NMR (DMSO-d6): δ 147.0(C-2), 135.8(C- 3), 176.2(C-4), 160.5(C-5), 99.2(C-6), 164.0(C-7), 93.7(C-8), 156.4(C- 9), 103.5(C-10), 122.2(C-1’), 115.3(C-2’), 145.1(C-3’), 148.0(C-4’), 115.6(C-5’) and 120.2(C-6’). Ms (m/z): 300.8 [M- - H, 100%, ion A], 299.8 [M- - H2, 28.3%], 270.9 [ion A–C2H6, 8.9%], 162.9 [ion A– C7H6O3, 10.1%, ion B] and 117.3[ion B–HCOOH, 5.3%].

10) Kaempherol (C15H10O6, 23 mg), Rf values (x100): 00 (H2O), 10 (HOAc-6), 85 (BAW). UV (MeOH): max=268, 369 nm, (MeOH + NaOAc): max=270, 310, 375 nm, (NaOAc + H3BO3): max=270, 320, 372 nm, (MeOH + AlCl3): max=270, 305, 360, 430 nm and (AlCl3 + HCl): max=278, 316, 413nm. 1H- NMR (DMSO-d6): δ 6.4 (d, J=2.5, H-8), 6.18 (d, J=2.5, H-6), 8.14 (d, J=8, H-2’ and H-6’), 6.89 (d, J=8, H-3’ and H-5’). 13C-NMR (DMSO-d6): δ 146.8(C-2), 135.4(C-3), 175.9(C-4), 161.0(C-5), 98.6(C-6), 164.2(C-7), 93.8(C-8), 156.4(C-9), 103.7(C-10), 121.9(C-1’), 129.9(C-2’ and C-6’), 115.8(C-3’ and C-5’) and 159.5(C- 4’). Ms (m/z): 285.1 [M- - H, 100%, ion A], 242.1 [M- - CO2, 5.3%], 203.1 [ion A–C4H2O2, 4.6%, ion B] and 169.1[ion B–H2O2, 5.7%].

11) Apigenin (C15H10O5, 25 mg), Rf values (x 100): 00 (H2O), 11 (HOAc-6), 88 (BAW), UV (MeOH): max=266, 335 nm, (MeOH + NaOAc): max=270, 300, 373 nm, (NaOAc + H3BO3): max=270, 300, 340 nm and (MeOH + AlCl3): max=277, 302, 348, 384 nm. 1H- NMR (DMSO-d6): δ 6.18 (d, J=2.5Hz, H-6), 6.47(d, J=2.5Hz, H-8), 6.77(s, H-3), 6.92(d, J=8Hz, H-3’ and H-5’), 7.93(d, J=8Hz, H-2’ and H-6’). 13C-NMR (DMSO-d6): δ 163.8(C-2), 102.8(C-3), 181.5(C-4), 161.3(C- 5), 98.7(C-6), 163.6(C-7), 93.9(C-8), 157.2(C-9), 103.6(C-10), 121.1(C- 1’), 128.3(C-2’ and C-6’), 115.8(C-3’ and C-5’) and 161.4(C-4’). Ms (m/z): 270.2 [M+, 100%], 254 [M+ - O, 5.1%], 242 [M+ - CO, 18.7%], 226[M+ -CO2, 4.8%], 213 [M+– C3H5O, 3.9%, ion A], 177 [ion A – C2H6O, 5.4%, ion B], 167 [ion A–C3H4O, 4.9%], 147 [ion B–HCHO, 52.5%, ion C], 135 [ion B–C2H6, 5.6%] and 111 [ion C–2H2O, 12.5%].

Anti-tumor activity

The potential cytotoxicity activity of the methanolic extract of clove buds was tested against three human cell lines [HEPG2 (liver carcinoma cell line), MCF7 (breast carcinoma cell line) and HCT116 (colon carcinoma cell line)] by SRB (Sulphorhodamine-B) assay. The results showed that the extract has strong activity against all cell lines tested. The antitumor activity of the tested extract is summarized in Figure 1. The IC50 values (the concentrations of thymoquinone required to produce 50% inhibition of cell growth) of the extract against each cell lines were 31 μg/ml, 29.7 μg/ml and 18.7 μg/ml for HCT116, MCF7 and HEPG2, respectively.


Figure 1: % of survival fraction of breast, colon and liver carcinoma cell lines against the concentration (μg/ml) of clove methanolic extract.

Antioxidant activity

The DPPH scavenging activity of the methanolic extract of clove buds is summarized in Figure 2. It was observed that the scavenging activity of the extract at all concentrations (25, 50 and 100 μl) is rather strong (42.27-80.07%) as compared with vitamin C. The remarkable antioxidant activity of methanolic extract of licorice roots might be due to the higher concentration of phenolic compounds. IC50 value for the methanolic extract=44 μg/ml, while for vitamin C=17 μg/ml.


Figure 2: Antioxidant activity of the methanolic extract of clove compared to vitamin C.

Antibacterial activity

The clove methanolic extract was showed high inhibitory effect against E. coli. at the two concentration (0.1 and 0.3 ml), while the same extract showed high inhibitory effect against Salmonella typhi at concentration 0.3 ml and no effect at concentration (0.1 ml). On the other hand, Staphylococcus aureus showed the highest resistance species to the extract at concentration 0.3 and 0.1ml as shown in Figure 3.


Figure 3: Antibacterial activity of the methanolic extract of clove.

Antifungal activity

The results showed that, Clove methanolic extract has strong antifungal activity only against Trichoderma sp. at 0.3 ml concentration and moderated activities against Fusarium, Aspergillus sp. and Penicillium sp. While at 0.1 ml concentration most fungal strains showed no inhibitory activity as shown in Figure 4.


Figure 4: Antifungal activity of the methanolic extract of clove.


The overall results of this study indicate that the methanolic extract of clove buds represent a potential source of plant drugs. So, we can deduce that the methanolic extract of licorice appeared to be promising choice to be considered as antioxidant and anti-tumor medicines.


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Citation: Abd El Azim MHM, El-Mesallamy AMD, El-Gerby M, Awad A (2014) Anti-Tumor, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial and the Phenolic Constituents of Clove Flower Buds (Syzygium aromaticum). J Microb Biochem Technol S8:007.

Copyright: © 2014 Abd El Azim MHM, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited