Content uploaded by Nantarika Chansue
All content in this area was uploaded by Nantarika Chansue on Dec 20, 2014
Content may be subject to copyright.
36 «“√“√—µ«·æ∑¬»“µ√å ¡¢. ªï∑’Ë 18 ©∫—∫∑’Ë 1 ¡°√“§¡ - ¡‘∂ÿπ“¬π 2551
The in vitro Antibacterial Activity and Ornamental
Fish Toxicity of the Water Extract of Indian
Almond Leaves (Terminalia catappa Linn.)
Nantarika Chansue1* Nongnut Assawawongkasem2
Objective __ To determine concentration of tannin, an antimicrobial substance, in the water
extract of Indian almond leaves (Terminalia catappa Linn.), evaluate in vitro antibacterial activity
against bacteria isolated from aquatic animals, and assess toxicity of the extract in three species
of ornamental fish: a guppy, a fancy carp, and the Siam fighting fish.
Materials and Methods __ The dried leaves of Indian almond were extracted with water for 1, 3,
and 7 days. Then, the amount of tannin in the extract was measured. Based on tannin analysis,
only the extract for 3 days was used in this study. For in vitro antimicrobial activity test, 15 strains
of bacteria isolated from ill aquatic animals were used. Minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of
the extract was determined by agar dilution technique. For in vivo toxicity test, guppies, fancy
carps, and Siamese fighting fish, with 30 fish in each species, were used. Fifty percent lethal
concentration (LC50) was also determined.
Results __ Total tannin levels of the extracts for 1, 3, and 7 days were 4.02, 13.60, and 14.08
mg/ml, respectively. For antimicrobial test, MIC of the extract for 3 days was ranged from
0.8-2.0 mg/ml. For toxicity test, a guppy were more sensitive to the extract than a fancy carp
and the Siamese fighting fish, respectively. In a guppy, a fancy carp, and the Siamese fighting
fish, LC50 at 24 hours were 6.2, 7.6 and 8.6 mg/ml; LC50 at 48 hours were 5.4, 7.0 and
8.2 mg/ml; LC50 at 72 hours were 5.8, 5.9 and 7.6 mg/ml; and LC50 at 96 hours were 5.6,
5.8 and 7.0 mg/ml, respectively.
Conclusion __ This study indicated that the extract had a potential to use as an antibacterial
alternative for ornamental fish culture.
KKU Vet J. 2008;18(1):36-45 http://vet.kku.ac.th/journal/
Key words: Aeromonas hydrophila; Fish; Indian almond leaves; Toxicity
1Veterinary Medical Aquatic Research Center, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University,
Pathumwan, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand.
2 Student of Master Degree, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University, Pathumwan, Bangkok,
* Corresponding author: email@example.com
KKU. Vet. J. Vol. 18 No. 1 JANUARY - JUNE 2008
Indian almond tree (Terminalia catappa Linn.) is a Combretaceous plant (tropical
almond family), presenting throughout any region of Thailand. The plant is a large tree, which can
reach up to 30 m height with a thick broad trunk; the leaves cluster toward the end of the
branches with glossy, obovate blades mostly 8-30 cm in length and turn red before turning
brown and falling .
In Southeast Asia, leaves and barks of Indian almond tree are widely used in human as
a folk medicine to treat dermatosis, hepatitis, thrush and other oral infections, and intestinal
ailments in children. Decoction of the leaves is used to treat indigestion, furred tongue, bronchitis,
and tuberculosis. The crushed leaves mixed with coconut oil or coconut cream were used to
relieve muscle pain from fractures and sprain . On the other hand, in modern medicine, many
pharmacological studies on various extracts of the leaves and barks have been reported to
possess anti-cancer , antioxidation , anti-HIV reverse transcriptase , hepatoprotection
, anti-inflammation , aphrodisiac activities , antifungal properties againt Pythium ultimum,
Rhizoctonia solani, Sclerotium rolfsii, and Aspergillus fumigatus , and antibacterial properties
against; Staphylococcus epidermidis, S.aureus, Bacillus cereus, B. subtilis, and Pseudomonas
The chemical compositions of this plant consist of tannins (punicalagin, punicalin, terflavin
A and B, tergallagin, tercatain, chebulagic acid, geranin, granatin B, corilagin), flavanoids, isovitexin,
vitexin, isoorientin, rutin and triterpenoiods (ursolic acid, 2α, 3β, 23-trihydroxyurs-12-en-28
oic acid) . Tannin, a polyphenolic compound commonly found in most herbs, has antibacterial
In aquaculture, The Indian almond leaves have been claimed as a promoting substance
for wound healing, especially for injured Siamese fighting fish after fighting matches. Chansue
et al.  reported increasing thickness of keratin layer in Siamese fighting fish scale. The leaves
have a potential to use as an alternative treatment for chemical substances and antibiotics.
Various concentrations of the extracts in water to prevent fish pathogen have been examined.
Chansue and Tangtrongpiros  found that water extracts of the dry leaves can rapidly promote
regeneration of fin tail of fancy carp. Chitmanat et al.  reported effectiveness of 0.8 mg/l
concentration of leaf extracts of Indian almond tree against Trichodina and other bacterial
infections in tilapia, and against fungal infection in tilapia egg. In addition, the leaf extracts can
eliminate Zoothamnium spp. infection of black tiger postlarva shrimp within 24 hours after
exposure , and can significantly decrease the number of Gyrodactylus and Dactylogyrus
infection of gold fish .
In Thailand, leaves of Indian almond tree have been widely used in Siamese fighting
fish culture as bath supplement for treating the injured fish and promoting the fish breeding.
However, the breeders still use their experiences to estimate the concentration of the leaves.
38 «“√“√—µ«·æ∑¬»“µ√å ¡¢. ªï∑’Ë 18 ©∫—∫∑’Ë 1 ¡°√“§¡ - ¡‘∂ÿπ“¬π 2551
Chansue  reported effects of the extract on hematology and blood chemistry of Siamese
fighting fish but not reported on its toxicity level. The objectives of this study were to evaluate
the antibacterial activity of the water extract of dried Indian almond leaves and to evaluate its
toxicity in ornamental fishes.
Materials and Methods
Collection of the leaves and preparation of the extract
Leaves of Indian almond tree were collected from some area in Bangkok, Thailand.
The leaves were dried in laboratory room at room temperature. To yield 50 mg/ml concentration,
1 kilogram of dried leaves was minced and soaked in 20 liters of distilled water for 1, 3, and
7 days at room temperature. The extracted solution was filtered (Whatman paper No. 4). Then,
various dilutions of the extract were prepared for optical density (OD) measurement by using
Spectrophotometer at 245 nm. wave length. Antibacterial activity and toxicity test were
determined by using the extract for 3 days.
Total tannin concentration was determined by Colorimetric method .
Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) was done by the agar dilution technique.
The bacterial isolates used in this study were derived from fish and other aquatic animals from
the Veterinary Medicine Aquatic Reserch Center (VMARC), Chulalongkorn University,
Thailand. The isolates consisted of: Aeromonas hydrophila , A. sobria, Photobacterium damsela,
Pasteurella pneumotropica, Burkholderia cepacia, P. aeruginosa, P. oryzihabitans, Proteus valgaris,
Vibrio parahemolyticus, V. fluvialis, V. alginolytica, Shewanella putrefaciens, Stenotrophomonas
maltophilia, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Enterococcus fecalis. The API-20E test (bioMerieux,
SA France) was used for bacterial identification.
A. hydrophila, A. sobria, P. aeruginosa, P. damsela, P. valgaris, E. fecalis and P.
pneumotropica were cultured on Mueller-Hinton agar plate. Other bacterial isolates were cultured
on Mueller-Hinton +1% NaCl agar plates. The bacterial suspension was diluted into 104 cfu/ml
(MacFarland nephelometer tube No. 0.5) and was spreaded on to the surface of agar medium
plates containing each concentration (5.0, 4.0, 3.5, 3.0, 2.5, 2.0, 1.5, 1.0, 0.8, 0.6, 0.4 and
0.2 mg/ml) of the 3 days extract. In the control plates, we used distilled water and 95% ethanol.
All samples were tested in triplicates.
KKU. Vet. J. Vol. 18 No. 1 JANUARY - JUNE 2008
Acute toxicity test of the extract
We used 3 species of ornamental fish including 210 guppy fish (Poecilia reticulate),
fancy carp (Cyprinus carpio), and Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) with average length of
2.0+0.21, 4.2±0.4 cm, 2.25±0.25, respectively. All fish, 30 fish of each type, were
acclimated for 14 days. Feed was given at 3% body weight twice daily. Static renewal system
was also applied daily.
Fifty percent lethal concentration (LC50)
The acute toxicity of the extract was observed in guppy, fancy carp, and Siamese fighting
fish. Concentrations (1.0, 2.0, 4.0, 6.0, 8.0, and 10 ppm) of the 3 days extract were tested
in 30 fish of each species in the 50 liter glass aquarium without any change of water for 96 hrs.
The water was continuously aerated. Mortality of fish was observed daily and the dead fish
were instantly removed.
Water quality analysis
Water quality parameters were measured in both the experimental and control groups.
The pH was determined by pH meter (Salinger & Mack). Alkalinity, hardness, ammonium, and
nitrite were determined by spectrophotometric kit (AQUA-VBC). Dissolved oxygen was
measured by Oxygen meter (YSI MODEL 57). Each parameter was determined in triplicates for
For warter parameters, the experimental data was calculated in the mean percentage of
each water parameter, compared with control groups. Differences between two means were
evaluated by the Studentûs t-test. For acute toxicity test, statistical analysis to determine median
lethal concentrations at 24, 48, 72, and 96 hrs used the binomial/nonlinear progression method,
nominal concentrations were used for the calculations .
The results showed that total tannin level increased when duration of extraction
increased. The total tannin levels of 1, 3, and 7 days extracts were 4.02, 13.60, and 14.08
mg/ml, respectively (Table 1.).
40 «“√“√—µ«·æ∑¬»“µ√å ¡¢. ªï∑’Ë 18 ©∫—∫∑’Ë 1 ¡°√“§¡ - ¡‘∂ÿπ“¬π 2551
MICs of the extracts ranged between 0.8-2.0 mg/ml (Table 2.). No growth inhibition was
observed in the control group. The liquid extractions showed higher effect against P. pneumotropica
(0.8 mg/ml), Photobacterium damsela and Enterococcus faecalis (1.0 mg/ml), and lower effect
against other bacterial organisms (1.5-2.0 mg/ml).
Table 1. Correlation of optical density (OD) and tannin level of the extract of dried Indian almond
leaves with various durations of extraction.
Duration of extraction OD Tannin
Control 0 0
1 day 0.045 4.02
3 days 0.211 13.60
7 days 0.243 14.08
Table 2. MICs (mg/ml) of the extract of dried Indian almond leaves.
Bacteria species VMARC MIC
Aeromonas hydrophila Ah001 1.5
Aeromonas sobria As001 2.0
Burkholderia cepacia Buc001 2.0
Pseudomonas aeruginosa Psa001 2.0
Pseudomonas oryzihabitans Pso001 2.0
Pasteurella pneumotropica Pap001 0.8
Photobacterium damsela Phd001 1.0
Proteus valgaris Prv001 1.5
Shewanella putrefaciens Shp001 2.0
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia Stm001 2.0
KKU. Vet. J. Vol. 18 No. 1 JANUARY - JUNE 2008
Table 2. MICs (mg/ml) of the extract of dried Indian almond leaves. (Cont.)
Bacteria species VMARC MIC
Vibrio Parahemolyticus Vp001 2.0
Vibrio fluvialis Vf001 2.0
Vibrio alginolytica Va001 1.5
Enterococcus faecalis Enf001 1.0
Klebsiella pneumoniae Klp001 2.0
When dried Indian almond leaves were extracted in water, the water gradually turned
brown, like tea color and generated acidic condition of the water as shown in Table 3. At the
concentrations of 0-4.0 mg/ml, the water pH of the extract was slightly lower (7.6-6.7) than
that of the control group, but pH of the extract at the concentrations of 6.0-10.0 mg/ml were
more acidic (pH 6.5-6.0) and significantly lower than that of control (p<0.05). The extract of
dried Indian almond leaves affects water quality by increasing ammonium ion level in the water.
Other parameter changes were not significantly different.
Table 3. Water parameters of various concentrations dried Indian almond leaves.
Conc. pH Alkalinity Hardness Ammonium Nitrite D.O.
(mg/ml) (ppm) (ppm) (ppm) (ppm) (ppm)
Control 7.60±0.14 60±2.5 180±10 0.00 0.000 4.28±0.36
1.0 7.52±0.13 60±0140±10 0.10±0.05 * 0.000 4.80±0.09
2.0 7.43±0.13 60±2.5 120±15 0.15±0.05 * 0.000 3.98±0.34
4.0 6.78±0.22 60±0160±10 0.15±0 * 0.000 4.78±0.03
6.0 6.52±0.14* 50±5.0 180±15 0.20±0 * 0.000 5.00±0.07
8.0 6.29±0.12* 50±5.0 140±15 0.15±0.05 * 0.000 4.80±0.07
10.0 6.09±0.16* 60±0160±10 0.10±0 * 0.000 4.42±0.37
* Value differs significantly (p<0.05) from value of control groups.
42 «“√“√—µ«·æ∑¬»“µ√å ¡¢. ªï∑’Ë 18 ©∫—∫∑’Ë 1 ¡°√“§¡ - ¡‘∂ÿπ“¬π 2551
Table 4. Mortality of guppy, fancy carp, and Siamese fighting fish exposed to the extract of dried
Indian almond leaves at LC50 values.
24 h. 48 h. 72 h. 96 h.
Guppy (n=30) 6.2 5.4 5.8 5.6
Fancy carp (n=30) 7.6 7.0 5.9 5.8
Siamese fighting (n=30) 8.6 8.2 7.6 7.0
The extracts cause acute toxic to guppy, fancy carp, and Siamese fighting fish.
The toxicity of the extracts was shown in Table 4. There was no mortality in the control groups
(0 mg/ml). All fish showed similar clinical signs when initially exposed to all concentrations.
From observation, their rate of respiration increased according to faster opercula movement.
The survived fish returned to normal within 24 hrs. after treatment. Heavy solid suspension
adhered to the gills was observed during necropsy.
Discussion and Conclusion
Tannins possess antibacterial properties . Tannic acid can inhibit the growth of
intestinal bacteria by binding with metal ions especially strong binding with iron and then forming
a chelate. The chelate, like a siderophore, is toxic to the membranes of microorganisms. When
tannins form chelating complex with iron in the medium, this action makes no iron available for
microorganisms to grow under aerobic condition. Bacterial growth was inhibited due in part to the
malfunction of the reduction of ribonucleotide precursor of DNA, formation of heme, and other
essential mechanisms . According to this study, the total tannin level was rapidly increased
within the first 3 day of extraction then gradually increased. We can get higher concentration of
tannin when allowing longer time of extraction. However, the longer the time, the higher the
number of microorganisms contaminated . Therefore, the extract of Indian almond leaves for
3 days was the most appropriate for use.
In this study, MICs of the extracts were ranged from 0.8-2.0 mg/ml. The extracts were
more effective against P. pneumotropica (0.8 mg/ml), Photobacterium damsela and
Enterococcus faecalis (1.0 mg/ml), but less effective against other bacterial organisms
(1.5-2.0 mg/ml). Chitmanat et al.  also reported that water solution of dried Indian almond
leaves (0.8 ppm) was able to inhibit A. hydrophila infection in tilapia.
KKU. Vet. J. Vol. 18 No. 1 JANUARY - JUNE 2008
The extracts are gradually acidic when their concentrations increase. Acceptable pH
for most fish cultures ranges from 6.2 to 7.8, but the rapidly change of pH over 0.2 may affect
the fish growth and can cause mortality . The extracts also affect quality of water by
increasing level of ammonium ion in the water. Although ammonium ion (ionized ammonia) is
less toxic to fish than ammonia, increasing in ammonium ion may indicate increasing in ammonia.
Thus, balancing between ammonium ion and toxic ammonia should be determined by measuring
pH and temperature of the water .
Results from this study indicated that the extracts were toxic to any individuals
depending on the species of fish. Guppies were more sensitive than fancy carp and Siamese
fighting fish, respectively. Gills of the fish adhered with heavy solid suspension could be
observed when the fish underwent necropsy. This occurring might be another cause of death
because the adhered gills were blocked for oxygen and were irritated by high concentration
of tannins . Tannic acid exhibits chelating properties when soaked in water, and can bind
cation in water to form colloid that possibly causes adhesion in fish gills . Borisutpeth et al.
 reported that tannic acid caused hyperplasia of epithelial cells of gill filaments, fusion,
disarray, and aneurysm of gill lamellae, but no histopathological changes of other organs in
tilapia when the acid was used with concentration of 97.5 mg/ml for 96 hrs. However, in this
study, the treatment concentrations against aquatic bacteria (1.5-2.0 mg/ml) were much lower
than the lethal concentration. Therefore, Indian almond leaves can be developed for safer
treatment of bacterial infection in fish.
In conclusion, the water extracts of Indian almond leaves have potential to use as an
alternative of antibacterial agents and chemical substances. As natural products, the extracts may
overcome the problems of chemical residues and antibiotic resistances in fish cultures.
We would like to thank Assoc. Prof. Jirasak Tangtongpiros and Dr.Pansak
Assawawongkasem for advice. We thank also the staff of Veterinary Medical Aquatic Research
Center, Faculty of Veterinary Science for their kind assistance.
1. Whistler A. Polynesian Herbal Medicine. Hong Kong: Everbest Printing Co.,Ltd, 1992.
2. Zhai YF, Yao J, Fan YM, Xu LZ, Gao J, Zhao XN. Inhibitory effects of LR-98 on proliferation
of hepatocarcinoma cells. J Nanjing Univ (Natural Sciences). 2001;37(2):213-217.
44 «“√“√—µ«·æ∑¬»“µ√å ¡¢. ªï∑’Ë 18 ©∫—∫∑’Ë 1 ¡°√“§¡ - ¡‘∂ÿπ“¬π 2551
3. Masuda T, Yonemori Y, Oyama Y, Takeda T, Tanaka T. Evaluation of the antioxidant activity
of environmental plants: activity of the leaf extracts from seashore plants. J Agric Food Chem.
4. Tan GT, Pezzulo JM, Kinghom AD, Hughes SH. Evaluation of natural products as inhibitors
of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase. J Nat Products.
5. Jing G, Huan D, Xin-Hui T, Li-Zhi X, Yi-Mei F, Xiao-Ning, Z. Inhibitory Effect of TCCE
on CCl4-induced Overexpression of IL-6 in Acute Liver Injury. ACTA. 2004;36(11):
6. Fan YM, Xu†LZ, Gao†J, Wang†Y, Tang†XH, Zhao†XN, et al. Phytochemical and antiinflammatory
studies on Terminalia catappa. Fitoterapia. 2004;75(3-4):253-260.†
7. Ratnasooriya WD, Dharmansiri MG. Effects of Terminalia catappa seeds on sexual behaviour
and fertility of male rats. Asian j. androl.†2000;2(3):213-219.
8. Goun E, Cunningham G, Chu D, Nguyen C, Miles D. Antibacterial and antifungal activity
of Indonesian ethnomedical plants. Fitoterapia. 2003;74(6):592-596.
9. Kloucek P, Polesny Z, Svobodova B, Vlkova E, Kokoska, L. Antibacterial screening of some
Peruvian medicinal plants used in Calleria District. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005;99(2):
10. Ahmed SM, Swamy V, Dhanapal PGR, Chandrashekara VM. Anti-Diabetic Activity of Terminalia
catappa Linn. Leaf Extracts in Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Rats. Iranian J Pharmacol &
Therapeutics. 2005;4(1): 36-39.
11. Chung KT, Lu Z, Chou MW. Mechanism of inhibition of tannic acid and related compounds
on the growth of intestinal bacteria. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 1998;36(12):
12. Chansue N, Mataderm T, Suilasuta A. 2004. Preliminary study of Effects of Dried Indian
Almond Terminalia catappa leaf on ultrastuctural morphology of scale in Siamese Fighting
Fish (Betta splendens). Proceeding of Thai Herbal: Opportunities and Alternative way for
Agriculture-Animal industries. Siam city Hotel. Bangkok, Thailand, January 15-16 (2004).
13. Chansue N, Tangtrongpiros J. Efficacies of dry Indian almond leaf (Terminalia catappa) and
Andrographis paniculata (Burm. F) Wall. Ex Nees Extract on tail regeneration and Hematocrit
of Fancy Carp (Cyprinus carpio Linn.). J Thai Vet Med Assoc. 2006;57(2):52-62.
KKU. Vet. J. Vol. 18 No. 1 JANUARY - JUNE 2008
14. Chitmanat C, Tongdonmuan K, Nunsong W. The use of crude extract from traditional
medicinal plants to eliminate Tricodina sp. In tilapia (Oreochromis niliticus) fingerlings.
Songklanakarin J. Sci. Technol. 2005;27(Suppl.1):359-364.
15. Watchariya P, Surapon W. Nontawit A. 2004. Efficiency of some Herbals for eliminate
Zoothamnium sp. and toxicity on Penaeus monodon Fabricius. The 5th National conference
of marine shrimp. Miracle Grand Convention Hotel. Bangkok. BIOTEC. March 29-30, 2004
16. Chansue N, Tangtrongpiros J. 2005. Effect of Dried Indian almond Leaf (Terminalia catappa)
on Monogenean Parasite of Gold Fish (Carassius auratus). Proceeding of the 4th
Chulalongkorn University Veterinary Annual Conference. 60 Veterinary Anniversary Building,
Chulalongkorn University, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Bangkok, Thailand, February 15
17. Chansue N . 2003 . Effects of Dried Indian Almond Terminalia catappa leaf on Hematology
and Blood chemistry of Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendens). Proceeding of Quality:
The Focus of Asian Aquaculture. Bangkok, Thailand. Sepember 22-25 (2003). 77.
18. AOAC. Official Method of Analysis. Association of Official Analytical Chemists† 15th.
edition Washington, DC. USA. 1990;66-88.
19. Steel RGD, Tories JH, Dickey DA. Principles and Procedures of Statistics: A Biometric
Approach. Singapore: McGraw-Hill. 1997.
20. Scalbert A. Antimicrobial properties of tannins. Phytochem. 1991;12:3875-3883.
21. Intranupakorn R. Herb Inspections and extractions of Active Ingredients. Bangkok:
Chulalongkorn University Press. 2004.
22. Chitmanat C, Tongdonmuan K, Khanom P, Pachontis P, Nunsong W. Antiparasitic,
antibacterial, and antifungal activities derived from a Terminalia catappa solution against
some tilapia (Oreochromis niliticus) pathogen. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 2005;678:79-182.
23. Boyd CE. Water Quality in ponds for Aquaculture. Principles of water quality. Thailand:
Shrimp Mart (Thai) Co. Ltd. 1990. p. 46-47.
24. Treves-Brown KM. Externally applied antimicrobial agents. Applied fish Pharmacology.
Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 2000. p.164-171.
25. Borisutpeth P, Hanjavanij C, Luangpirom A, Lawhavinit O. Acute effect of tannic acid on
intestine, liver and kidney of Oreochromis niloticus (L.). KKU Sci J. 2001;31(3):157-166.