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Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranean) from Mpumalanga province of South Africa: phytochemical and antimicrobial properties of seeds and product extracts
Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea) an indigenous legume cultivated in Sub-Saharan Africa has been proclaimed to have medicinal properties from communities and in rural areas. However, there is not enough scientific information to validate these claims. Therefore, this study aimed to identify possible medicinal properties of Bambara groundnut (BGN), by analysing the phytochemical and antimicrobial properties of BGN seed and product extracts from Mpumalanga province within South Africa. The BGN extracts (70% methanol, 70% ethanol, milli-Q water) from seeds and products (milk and yoghurt) were screened for the presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, phenols, riboflavin and thiamine using analytical laboratory methods for basic screening, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography (GC) for quantification. The antimicrobial activity involved direct bioautography and minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) against six antibiotic-resistant microorganisms, Acinetobacter baumannii ATCC 19606T, Enterococcus faecalis ATCC 29212, Klebsiella pneumoniae subsp. pneumoniae ATCC 700603, Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 27853, Staphylococcus aureus subsp. aureus ATCC 33591 and Candida albicans ATCC 24433. For the seed extracts, flavonoids and phenols were highly concentrated in the red and brown hulls of BGN compared to whole and dehulled BGN. Organic solvents in comparison to water yielded the highest concentration of flavonoids, whilst water yielded the highest concentration for phenols. Flavonoid compounds that were detected at the highest concentrations were rutin (24.458 ± 0.234 mg.g-1, brown hull extracted with 70% methanol), quercetin (0.070 ± 0.043 mg.g-1, red hull extracted with 70% methanol), kaempferol (0.391 ± 0.161 mg.g-1; brown hull extracted with 70% ethanol) and myricetin (1.800 ± 0.771 mg.g-1; red hull extracted with 70% methanol). For phenol compounds, gallic acid (0.009 ± 0.004 mg.g-1; brown hull extracted with milli-Q water), catechin (0.026 ± 0.041 mg.g-1; brown hull extracted with milli-Q water), methyl gallate (0.008 ± 0.013 mg.g-1; brown whole extracted with milli-Q water), chlorogenic acid (0.115 ± 0.199 mg.g-1; brown hull extracted with milli-Q water) and ellagic acid (0.105 ± 0.082 mg.g-1; red hull extracted with milli-Q water) were detected. Vitamins B1 and B2 (riboflavin and thiamine) were mostly present in milli-Q water extracts. Black-eye hull had the highest concentration of thiamine (vitamin B1) and riboflavin (vitamin B2) consisting of 0.072 mg.g-1 (extracted with milli-Q water) and 0.002 mg.g-1 (extracted with 70% ethanol and 70% methanol). Red and brown hull extracts from organic solvents (70% ethanol and 70% methanol) showed the highest antimicrobial activity, whereas the whole, dehulled and hulls (black-eye and brown-eye) extracts had no antimicrobial activity. As for BGN products extracts, flavonoid compounds that were detected at the highest concentrations were rutin (5.694 mg.g-1, whole BGN milk, milli-Q water), quercetin (0.703 mg.g-1, whole BGN yoghurt, milli-Q water) and myricetin (0.987 mg.g-1, whole BGN yoghurt, 70% ethanol).