Chemistry and Antifungal Activity of the Essential oils from Oleogum resins of Two Soqotraen Commiphora Species

Nasser A. Awadh Ali1*, Martina Wurster3, Norbert Arnold2 Ulrike Lindequist3 and Ludger Wessjohan2

1Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Sana’a University, 2Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry, Department of Bio-organic Chemistry,
3Department of Pharmaceutical Biology, Institute of Pharmacy, University, Greifswald, Germany


The genus Commiphora (Burseraceae) includes about 150 species, distributed mostly around Red Sea in East Africa, and with few species also occurring in Arabia and India. Commiphora species are small trees or shrubs with short, thorny branches. The genus is represented in Soqotra island by five species: C.
kau,(Royle) vollesen, C. ornifolia (Balf.f.) Gillett, C. parvifolia (Balf.f.) Engl., C. planifrons (Balf.f.) Engl. and C. socotrana (Balf.f.) Engl., four of which are endemic to Soqotra. In Soqotraen folk medicine, Commiphora species are among the most important medicinal plants. Powdered resin
of C. kua is given in warm milk or water to a toddler or young child with sore stomach. Fresh sap or resins of C. ornifolia is used to treat a variety of sores and skin ailments. The resin is not chewed, but can be inserted into a cavity to relieve toothache and to burn out the diseased area of the tooth1.
The chemical composition of several
reported EOs from Commiphora species was characterized by high content of α-pinene, limonene, sabinene, α–thujene, β-pinene, p-cymene, terpinen-4-

ol, myrcene, 3-carene and (E) β-ocimene2,3,4,5. On the other hand, some Commiphora species yielded oils rich in sesquiterpenes and oxygenated sesquiterpenes such as
furanoeudesma-1,3-diene, furanodiene, indestrene, and β-elemene6,7,8, α –oxobisabolene,
γ-bisabolene9, curzerennone, α-selinene, β-selinene,
Germacrene D and germacrene B 7, 10.
Many Commiphora species are known for their medicinal properties , and exhibit interesting biological activities such as anti-inflammatory11, antibacterial12, antimicrobial13, antioxidant, hepatoprotective14 smooth muscle relaxing15, anticancer16, antimalarial, anticandidal, antimycobacterial17,
antischistosomal18, phytofungicidal19, larvicidal20 and molluscicidal21 effects. Some of these biological properties of Commiphora species may be due to the presence of oil components.
In the framework of our investigation on the EOs composition and biological activities of the Soqotraen plants 22, we report here the chemical composition and the antifungal activity of the EOs of two species of Commiphora, which have not been investigated so far.

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