Evaluation of antioxidant, antibacterial and cytotoxic activities of Iranian squirting cucumber (Ecballium elaterium (L.) A. Rich)

Document Type: Original paper


1 Food and Drug Research Center, Vice-Chancellery of Food and Drug, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran.

2 Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran.

3 Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, , Iran.



Background and objectives: Ecballium elaterium (L.) A. Rich (squirting cucumber) has been used traditionally as a remedy for different disorders such as fever, sinusitis, and rheumatic disease. In the present study, antibacterial, antioxidant, and cytotoxic activities of leaves and fruits were evaluated. Also, total flavonoid and phenolic contents were measured were measured. Methods: The fruits and leaves of E. elaterium were extracted by percolation method with methanol. The antioxidant activity was assessed by 2, 2'-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) methods. Then, the total phenolics and flavonoids contents were measured. The cytotoxicity was tested against three cancerous cell lines (MCF-7, MDA-MB-468 and MKN-45) and a normal cell line (HDF). Antibacterial activity was investigated against Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Escherichia coli. Results: The total phenolics content of leaves and fruits were 39.97 and 30.90 mg gallic acid equivalents/g of dry extract, respectively. Also, the total flavonoids content in leaf extract was 49.17 mg quercetin as equivalents/g of dry extract while flavonoids were not detected in the fruit extract. In the DPPH assay, the IC50 values were 1.15 and 1.18 mg/mL for leaves and fruits, respectively.The fruit extract showed the most considerable antibacterial activity (MIC 37.5 mg/mL) against P. aeruginosa. Both extracts indicated cytotoxicity on MDA-MB-468 cells (IC50 264 and 50 µg/mL, respectively). Conclusion: The antioxidant, antibacterial, and cytotoxicity of extracts may be due to some secondary metabolites like phenolic compounds and flavonoids. This study suggests that this plant could be considered for further investigations as a natural source of biological compounds.