Phyto-chemical and Gc-ms Analysis of Ficus Capensis Leaf in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State

Phyto-chemical and Gc-ms Analysis of Ficus Capensis Leaf in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State

Plant derived substances have recently become of great interest owing to their versatile applications (Baris et al., 2006). Medicinal plants are rich bio-resources of drugs (Hamman et al., 1999). A number of interesting outcomes have been found with the use of a mixture of natural products or plant extracts to treat diseases (Gibbons, 2003).
Plants which involve one or more of its organs containing substances that can be used for therapeutic purpose, are called medical plants (Sofowora, 1993). Plants have been as medical agents from the earliest days of man’s existence (Hanshch, 1992). Medicinal plants contain numerous biologically active compounds such as nutrients and phyto-chemicals which have physiological actions on the human body (Olowokudeje, et al., 2007).The inherent active ingredients are used to cure disease or relieve pain (Okigbo et al., 2007).

Ficus capensis commonly known as fig tree is a medicinal plant found in terrestrial zones mostly along rivers. Ficus capensis is a spreading deciduous or evergreen trees with a thick bole and roots. It produces fruits throughout the year and the leaves are broad and green (Amos, 1989). In Nigeria, ficus capensis has been used by the Igbo people as treatment for dysentery (Ogoli et al., 2004). It is also used in circumcision, leprosy and epilepsy (James, 2006). It is also used in treatment of rickets, infertility, gonorrhea, edema, respiratory disorders and emollient (Olowokudeje, et al., 2008). The leaves and terms bark of the plant have inhibitory effects against Esherichia Coli and Shgella species (Oyeleke et al., 2009). It is also used in herbal medicines to treat threatened abortion (Omonkhelin et al., 2009).

Aim and Objectives
The aim of this study was to evaluate the phytochemical and gas chromatography-mass spectrophotometer (GC-MS) analysis.

Medicinal Plant
Herbal medicine has its origin from ancient culture including those of the Egyptians, American Indians and Chinese. Herbal medicine has been shown to have genuine utility (Kabir, et al., 2004). In Nigeria, many plants are used in traditional medicine as antimicrobial agent but only few are documented. Plant based system of traditional medicine has continued to play an essentials role in health care cultures.
The uses of plant derived products as alternative to orthodox or synthetic drugs and increasing awareness of beneficial effects of natural products has resulted in increased interest in alternative therapies. Extracts from plants have been utilized for their antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial activities globally.

General Description of Ficus Capensis
Ficus plant belongs to the mulberry family, moraceae. Ficus capensis is a genus of about 860 species of woody trees, shrubs vines, epiphytes and hemiepiphytes. The moraceae family has about 53 genera. It is a wild fig deciduous or evergreen tree which can grow to 70 (Thomas, 2001) tall, but usually attains about 40 feet (Thomas, 2001).
The fruit are rounded, approximately 2-3cm in diameter. It is also known as the cape fig and is a native tropic Africa and the cape Islands. The common fig (F. Carica) is a temperate species native to southwest Asia and the Mediterranean region (from Afghanistan to portugal), which has been widely cultivated from ancient times for its fruit, (Hansch et al., 1991). The fruit of most other species are also edible though they are usually of only local economic importance or eaten as bush food.
However, they are extremely important food resources for figs are also of considerable culture importance throughout the tropics, both as objects of worship and for their many practical uses (Ahmaddu et al., 2007). The plant is a deciduous tree with spreading roots and branches and broad green leaves. The name Ficus capensis is derived from the hollow, pear – shaped inflorescence called “syconia”. Ficus capensis produce fleshy fruits all year round in a single or branches. These fruits though inedible to humans are eaten by many animals. Many of the world population are versed in the use of the available plants and herbs in their environment in the treatment of different diseases (Hansch et al., 1991).

In Nigeria, and other parts of the world, the plant along with many others in this family is important in the traditional treatment of many diseases and ailments. The plant extracts have been reported in the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, sexually transmitted diseases causing micro-organism, chest ailments tuberculosis, leprosy, convulsion, pain, anaemia and (Ahmaddu et al., 2007) among many others.
The relevance of this plant, in traditional medicine is as result of the secondary metabolites such as phytates, phenols, saponins, tannins, alkaloids, terpenoids and flavonoids which they reported to posses inhibition activities against the growth and disease including activities of some pathogenic micro-organisms (Hassan, 2005 and Oyeleke et al., 2009). Despite the breakthroughs in disease management and medicine, disease causing micro-organisms continue to undergo genetic variations which permit them to survive and resist treatment especially with antibiotics (Hassan, 2005 and Oyeleke et al., 2009).


Taxonomy of Ficus Capensis
Kingdom Plantae
Phylum Mannoliophyta
Class Manmoliopsida
Order Rosals
Family Morsaseae
Genus Ficus
Species Ficus capensis

Common Names of Ficus Capensis
In English Ficus capensis is called fig, bushfig, fig of heaven, cape fog, Broom-cluster fig (from Mandinka, Wolof, the Gambia, Percival). Frenchi petit sycamore (Bailleul). West Africa, senegal balyara.

Uses of Ficus Capensis
The wood is light and soft and is not much used commercially. All parts may exude a latex which has come traditional medicine applications.The latex has been shown to contain ursine and loeanane triterpenoids, which may be effective in cancer treatment, while a methanolic extract from the roots is potentially effective against chloroquine resistant malaria. The figs are edible and utilized in fresh or dried form by native people in many regions.They are also suited to preparation of fig preserve. If other suitable fruits are added (Feleke et al., 2006).


Phytochemistry of Ficus Capensis
The word “phytochemical” means plants chemicals. The word “phyto” comes from the Greek word for plant. In other words phytochemical are organic non-nutritive naturally occurring chemicals found in plants and have protective or disease preventive potentials, but are not essential nutrients. They are secondary metabolic compound founds in plant (Shanth, and Amulba, 2009). In cabbage, indoles are the chemical that gives notorious odour to the kitchen when cabbage is cooked. Phytochemicals are the reasons why certain foods may be liked or disliked. These compounds give food their colour, taste and smell. Phytochemicals put the hotness in habaners, the gusto in garlic, the bitterness in broccoli and the colour in carrots, for example gives food their deep reds, dark orange and yellow colour while anthocyanins provide various shades of red, purple and blue found in other fruit and vegetables. Flavonoids are the pigments that are responsible for the many other shapeless of yellow, orange and red in foods, capsaicin puts the hotness in chilli papers (Shantb, and Amutlha, 2009).

Tannins are estrangement, bitter, plant polyhenolic compounds, which bind to and precipitate protein and various other organic compound including amino acid and alkaloid. The term tannin refers to the use of wood tannins from oak tanning animals hides into leather hence the word “tan”. In some species of plant they play a role in protection from predation and perhaps also pesticides and in plants growth regulation (Mathieu and Jouany, 1993). Tannins have traditionally been considered as an antinutrient but is now known that their beneficial anti-nutritional properties depend on their chemical structure and dosage (Mathieu and Jouany, 1993).


Tannic acid is typical of the hydrolysable tannins.
The ingestion of tannic acid causes constipation and diarrhea. The antioxidant and anti-mutagenic properties of acid are beneficial. Many tannin bearing drugs such as nutgall Krameria as well as practically purified tannins and their derivative (acetyl tannin acid) are employed in medicine as astringent, both in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and abrasions (Malhieu and Jouany, 1994).

Figure 2: Structure of Tannin (Mathieu and Jouany, 1993).

Alkaloids are naturally occurring chemical compounds that contain mostly basic nitrogen atoms. This group also includes some related compounds with neutral and even weak acidic properties. They are heterocyclic structures as exemplified by the derivative of indole, pyridine, tropane, piperdine, etc. there are three types of alkaloids which are preto-alkaloids (e.g. colchicines). Pseudo alkaloids (derived from terpenoids) and true alkaloids (derived from amino acids and terpenes). Generally white solid alkaloids have bitter taste except nicotine (Haslam, 1996).
Alkaloids are basic and they form water soluble salts. Most alkaloids are well defined crystalline substances, which react with acid to form salts. Alkaloids are highly reactive substances with biological activity in low doses (Evans, 1998).
Most alkaloids are drugs. Quinine is one the alkaloids with related structure. It is often once again the drug of choice as strains of microorganism have becomes resistant to the synthetic drugs. It serves as central nervous system stimulant and is used as a treatment for nerve gas poisoning (Evan, 1998). Other uses of alkaloids include application as disinfectant, deodorant, counter irritation, anesthesia, expectorant, anti pyretic actions.

Figure 3: Structure of Alkaloid (Evan, 1998).

Saponin is a class of chemical compounds that are metabolites found in natural sources. More specifically, they are amphipathic glycosides group in terms of phenomenology, by the soap-like foaming they produce when shaken in aqueous solutions. Saponins are often bitter in taste, and so can reduce plant palatability, or even imbue them with life threatening animal toxicity (Hosttertman, and Marston, 1995). One major use of the Saponins class of natural products involves their complexation with cholesterol to form pores in cells membrane bilayers, e.g. in red cell membranes, where complexation leads to hemoysis or intravenous injection. In addition, the amphilalhic nature of the class gives them activity as surfactants than can be used to enhance penetration of macromolecules, such as protein through cell membrane. Saponins have also been used as adjuvant in vaccines. Saponins are also being promoted commercially as dietary supplements and nutriceuticals (Xu et al, 1996).


Figure 4: Structure of Saponins (Galeotti et al, 2008).

According to the IUPAC nomenclature (Galeotti et al, 2008) the can classified into Flavonoids, Isoflavonoids, Neoflavonids.
The three flavonoids classes above are all ketone-containing compounds. Flaconoids have many functions in plants. They are widely distributed in plants serving as the most important plant pigment for flower colouration, producing yellow or red blue pigmentation in designed to attract and pollinate. In higher plants, flavonoids are involved in ultra violet liberation, symbiotic nitrogen “fixation and floral pigmentation.”
They may act as chemical messenger or physiological regulator (Galeotti, et al., 2008).

Flavonoids (e.g. catechins) are the most common group of polyhenolic compounds in the human diet and are found ubiquitously in plants (Scbuier et al.,2005 ). In vitro studies show that flavonoids also have anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory (Yamamoto and Gaynor, 2005, antimicrobial, anti- cancer (de Sousa et al., 2007) and anti-diarrheal activities (Sebuier et al., 2005). Flavonoids (both flavonols and flavonols) are most commonly known for their antioxidant activity in vitro. At high experimental concentrations that do not exist in vivo, the antioxidant abilities of flavonoids in vitro may be stronger than those of vitamins C. and E depending on concentrations tested (Oagchi et al, 1999).

Figure 5: Structure of Flavonoids (Oagchi et al., 1999). 2.3.4 Glycosides

A glycoside is a molecule in which a sugar is bound to a non-carbohydrate moiety, usually a small organic molecule. Glycosides play numerous important roles in living organism. Many plants store chemicals in the form of inactive glycoside.
Many of such plant glycoside is used as medications. Cardiac glycosides are drugs used in the treatment of congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia. et al., 1964).

Phenol also known as cabolic acid is a toxic white crystalline solid with a sweet tarry odour commonly referred to as “hospital smella”. Its chemical formular is C6H5OH and its structure is that of a hydroxyl group (OH) bounded to phenyl ring. It is thus an aromatic compound. Phenol is appreciable soluble in water. The sodium salt of phenol molecules have weak tendencies to lose the water from the hydroxyl group resulting in the higher water soluble phenolate antion C6H5O (also called phenoxide) (Shanthi and Amutha, 2010).The terpenoids sometimes called isoprenoids are large and diverse class of naturally occurring organic chemicals similar to terpenes, derived from five-carbon isoprene units assemble and modified in thousands of ways. Most are multicylic structure differs from one another not in functional group but also in their basic carbon skeletons. These lipids can be found in all classes of living things and are the largest group of natural products.
Plants are used extensively for their aromatic qualities. They play a role in traditional herbal remedies and are under investigation for antibacterial, antieoplastic and other pharmaceuticals. Terpenoids contribute to the scent of encalyptus, the flavor of cinnamon, cloves and ginger, the yellow colour in sunflowers, and red colour. Well-known terpenoids include citral, menthol, camphor, saivmonn A in the plant Salvia divinorum, the cannabinoids found in cannabis, ginkgolide and bilobalide found in Ginkgo biloba and the curucminoids found in turmeric and mustard seed (Harbrne, 1973).
The steroids and sterols in animals are biologically produced from terpenoid precursors. Sometimes terpenoids are added to proteins to enhance attachment to the cell membrane; this is known as isoprenylation (Harbourne, 1973).
Generally, the spectrophotometric methods were used in the analysis of the phytochemical compositions of the plant seeds of Ficus Capensis. Spectrophotometery is an analytical technique used in the study of ultraviolet and visible absorption spectra. The instrument obeys Beer-Lambert’s law which states that “at a constant path length, the intensity of light absorbed increases as the concentration of chromophores, increased’. Consequently, the amount of light transmitted decreases exponentially with increase in the concentration of chromophore in the solution through which the light passes. The phytochemical analysis was carried based on the method of (Harborne, 1973).

Carotenoides are tetraterpanoid pigments that are naturally occurring plant and some other photosynthetic organisms like algae, some bacteria and types of fungus. Carotenoids can be synthesized from fats and other basic organic metabolic building blocks by this organism. Carotenoids generally cannot be manufactured by species in the animal kingdom (Shanthi and Amutha, 2009).

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