The chemical characterization of Nigerian propolis samples and their activity against Trypanosoma brucei

Ruwida Omar, John O. Igoli, Tong Zhang, Alexander I. Gray, Godwin Unekwuojo Ebiloma, Carol J. Clements, James Fearnley, RuAngelie Edrada Ebel, Tim Paget, Harry P. de Koning, David G. Watson

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Profiling of extracts from twelve propolis samples collected from eight regions in Nigeria was carried out using high performance liquid chromatography (LC) coupled with evaporative light scattering (ELSD), ultraviolet detection (UV) and mass spectrometry (MS), gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). Principal component analysis (PCA) of the processed LC-MS data demonstrated the varying chemical composition of the samples. Most of the samples were active against Trypanosoma b. brucei with the highest activity being in the samples from Southern Nigeria. The more active samples were fractionated in order to isolate the component(s) responsible for their activity using medium pressure liquid chromatography (MPLC). Three xanthones, 1,3,7-trihydroxy-2,8-di-(3-methylbut-2-enyl)xanthone, 1,3,7-trihydroxy-4,8-di-(3-methylbut-2-enyl)xanthone a previously undescribed xanthone and three triterpenes: Ambonic acid, mangiferonic acid and a mixture of α-amyrin with mangiferonic acid (1:3) were isolated and characterised by NMR and LC-MS. These compounds all displayed strong inhibitory activity against T.b. brucei but none of them had higher activity than the crude extracts. Partial least squares (PLS) modelling of the anti-trypanosomal activity of the sample extracts using the LC-MS data indicated that high activity in the extracts, as judged from LCMS2 data, could be correlated to denticulatain isomers in the extracts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number01038
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2017


  • drug discovery
  • infectious diseases
  • solution-state NMR
  • evaporative light scattering detection
  • ELSD
  • ultraviolet detection
  • Trypanosoma b. brucei


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