Antimicrobial activity of necklace orchids is phylogenetically clustered and can be predicted with a biological response method
Date of Archiving2021
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Experimental Plant Ecology
Key wordsbioassays; bioprospecting; coelogyninae; herbal medicine; horticulture; hot nodes
Necklace orchids (Coelogyninae, Epidendroideae) have been used in traditional medicine practices for centuries. Previous studies on a subset of unrelated orchid species utilized in these traditional practices revealed they possessed antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant activity, providing experimental proof for their medicinal properties. To date however none of these species have been investigated ethno-botanically in a phylogenetic context. This study thus carried out comparative bioprospecting for a group of wild orchids using EBDCS (the Economic Botany Data Collection Standards) organ targeted and biological response methods. The traditional medicinal use of necklace orchids was recorded from books and journals published between 1984 and 2016. Two orchids, Coelogyne cristata and Coelogyne fimbriata, were selected, cultivated both indoors and outdoors, and the antimicrobial properties on extracts from their leaves and pseudobulbs tested against a selection of human pathogens. A molecular phylogeny of Coelogyninae based on nuclear ribosomal ITS and plastid matK DNA sequences obtained from 148 species was reconstructed with Maximum Likelihood (ML) using RAxML, Maximum Parsimony (MP) using PAUP, and Bayesian Inference using MrBayes. Bioprospecting comparison of EBDCS and biological response was carried out using customized R scripts. Ethanolic extracts obtained from leaves of C. fimbriata inhibited growth of Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, and Yersinia enterocolitica, confirming the antimicrobial properties of these extracts. Leaf extracts were found to have slightly stronger antimicrobial properties for plants cultivated outdoors than indoors. These differences were not found to be statistically significant though. Three hot nodes with high potency for antimicrobial activities were detected with the EBDCS organ targeted classification method, and eight hot nodes were detected with the biological response classification method. The biological response classification method is thus a more effective tool in finding hot nodes amongst clades of species with high medicinal potential.