Biochemistry Project Topics

Antimicrobial and Phytochemical Properties of Young Cocos Nucifera Water and Methalonic Extract of Young Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Husk.

Antimicrobial and Phytochemical Properties of Young Cocos Nucifera Water and Methalonic Extract of Young Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Husk.

Antimicrobial and Phytochemical Properties of Young Cocos Nucifera Water and Methalonic Extract of Young Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Husk.


Aim and objectives

The specific objectives are to:

  1. Evaluate the phytochemical and antimicrobial activities of Methalonic extract of young Cocos nucifera husk on selected pathogenic microorganisms.
  2. Evaluate the antimicrobial activities and young Cocos nucifera water on selected pathogenic microorganisms.



Coconut (Cocos nucifera)

The coconut tree (cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family). It is the only accepted species in the genus cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed or the fruit, which botanically is a drupe, not a nut. The spelling coconut is an archaic form of the word. The term is derived from the 16th-century Portuguese and Spanish word coco meaning “head” or “skull” from the three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble facial features.

The coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many uses of its different parts and found throughout the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are the part of the daily diets of many people coconut is different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of “water” and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking. When mature, they still contain some water and can be used as seed-nuts or processed to give oil from the kernel, char coal from the hard shell and coir from the fibrous husk. The endosperm is initially in its nuclear phase suspended within the coconut water. As development continues, cellular layers of endosperm deposit along the walls of the coconut, becoming the edible coconut “flesh” when dried, the coconut flesh is called copra. The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying, coconut oil is also widely used in cooking and cosmetic. The clear liquid coconut water within is potable. The husks and leaves can be used as materials to make a variety of products for furnishing and decorating, it also has cultural and religious significance in many societies that use it.


Plant Cocos nucifera is a large palm, growing up to 30m (98ft) tall, with pinnate leaves 4-6m (13-20ft) long and pinnae 60-90 long old leaves break away cleanly, leaving the trunk smooth. Coconuts are generally classified into two general types, tall and dwarf. On very fertile land, a tall coconut palm tree can yield up to 75 fruits per year, but more often yields less than 30, mainly due to poor cultural practices. Given proper care and growing conditions coconut palms produce the first fruits in six to ten years, it takes 15-230 years to reach peak production.

Fruits botanically, the coconut fruits is a drupe not a true nut like other fruits, it has three layers the exocarp, mesocarp and endocarp. The exocarp and mesocarp make up the “husk” of the coconut. Coconuts sold in the shops of nontropical countries often have had the exocarp (outermost layer) removed. The mesocarp is composed of a fiber, called coir, which has many traditional and commercial uses. The shell has three germination pores (stoma) or “eyes” that are clearly visible on its outside surface once the husk is removed.




Preparation of extracts

The fibrous husk of Cocos nucifera was collected from the local coconut growers. It was washed with distilled water to remove dirt, cut into smaller pieces and air dried for 21 days. The dried husk fiber was then blended using a household electric blender. One hundred grams of the plant powder was extracted in a Soxhlet apparatus with 500 ml of ethanol as the solvent and concentrated using a rotor-evaporator. The extracts thus prepared were dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide to prepare different concentrations such as 100 mg/ml, 75 mg/ml, 50 mg/ml, and 25 mg/ml.

Collection of test organisms

The test organisms were collected from carious cavities of the affected teeth by scraping the soft caries with an excavator and from periodontal pockets using paper points. After collection, the paper points were dropped into 20 ml of brain heart infusion broth (BHI broth), which was used as the transport media. After 48 hours aerobic and anaerobic incubation samples were placed on a variety of selective and nonselective media. Colonies of different test organisms were identified by colony morphology, gram staining, catalase test, pigment production, and the aerotolerance test. The following organisms were studied S. mutans, S. salivarius, S. mitis, and L. acidophilus, Prevotella intermedia, Actinomycetes species, and Candida.




The zone of inhibition created by the Methalonic extract of C. nucifera, when tested against various test organisms, is shown in Table 1 and Figures 1-5. All the tested organisms, except the Actinomyces species, exhibited a zone of inhibition when different concentrations of extracts were used, at least in 200 mg/ml. A higher concentration (200 mg/ml) of extract was necessary to inhibit Prevotella intermedia. All other organisms showed a concentration-dependent increase in the antimicrobial activity, which was statistically highly significant, except for some concentrations, which are indicated by alphabets.



C. nucifera has significant inhibitory action against oral pathogens indicating the presence of highly effective active compounds, which can be identified and incorporated into modern oral care systems for controlling various diseases.

The results of this investigation reveal that the endosperm tissue of C. nucifera contains medicinally important constituents. And these constituents are responsible for the antimicrobial and free radical scavenging activities shown by the extract. Moreover, C. nucifera endosperm tissue is a rich source of vitamins and minerals and is hereby recommended as a dessert food to ensure a balanced diet. The tissues could be processed and used in industrial foods as a source of nutraceuticals and as an antimicrobial and antioxidant agent.

The study has confirmed the beneficial effects of C. nucifera husk, with a high antimicrobial effect. From the results obtained, we would like to conclude that traditional oral care practices, although not proven scientifically, have time-tested valuable effects. With respect to plant materials, these beneficial effects may be related to the active chemical constituents. It is certain that dual benefits are obtained when coconut husk is used for daily cleaning of teeth, which are, the mechanical cleansing property of the fibrous component and the chemical antimicrobial properties of the active constituents. Further studies are needed to elucidate the active components of C. nucifera and their mode of action as well as their potential in combination with other plant extracts. If identified, the active compounds may be incorporated into modern oral care systems, such as, toothpastes or mouth washes. This may provide the possibility of combining the benefits of traditional and modern practices to offer maximum benefit to mankind for better oral health.


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