Chemical composition and antimicrobial activities of essential oil extracted from Tithonia diversifolia (Asteraceae) flower

Oludare Oladipo Agboola, Stephen Oyedeji, Abdulwakeel Ajao, Oladipo Aregbesola


The upsurge in the prevalence of side effects of many synthetic antimicrobial agents and incidence of multidrug resistant bacteria has spurred scientists on the search for plant based antimicrobial of therapeutic potentials. The study extracted essential oils from the flowers of Tithonia diversifolia (Hemsl) A. Gray (Mexican sunflower) and assayed it for antimicrobial activities. The oils were extracted (hydro-distillation), characterized (GC-MS) and tested for antibacterial and antifungal activities. α-Pinene (34.42%), β-Caryophyllene (22.34%), β-Pinene (11.14%), Germacrene-D (11.13%) and 1, 8-Cineole (8.76%) were the major constituents of the forty-five compounds characterized. The characterized compounds were general monoterpenes (44.44%), sesquiterpenes (26.67%), including alcohols and aldehydes which accounted for 28.89%. The extract concentrations of 8-120 mg/ml in Potato Dextrose Agar (PDA) medium effectively inhibited the tested fungi in vitro. At 5 mg/ml, only Bacillus megaterium and Bacillus cereus were inhibited of all gram-positive bacteria while Streptococcus pyrogens was unaffected. All gram-negative bacteria were inhibited. Growth inhibition of the gram-positive and gram-negative species increases with increased concentration of the essential oil. At 40 mg/ml, all the tested bacteria species were inhibited and the growth inhibition for the species followed the order; E. coli> Proteus mirabi> Bacillus megaterium> Klebsiella pneumonia> Bacillus cereus> Streptococcuspyrogens. The oil concentration of 72 mg/ml totally inhibited the growth of all three fungal species - Cochliobolus lunatus, Fusarium solani, Fusarium lateritum. The secondary metabolites in the oil of T. diversifolia proved effective against the tested bacteria and fungi species. The finding of this study unlocks the potentials of this essential oil of Mexican sunflower for bio-pesticide production.

Full Text:



Pushpanathan, T., Jebanesan, A. and Govindarajan, M. (2006). Larvicidal, ovicidal and repellent activities of Cymbopogan citratus Stapf (Graminae) essential oil against the filarial mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus (Say) (Diptera : Culicidae). Tropical Biomedicine, 23(2): 208-212.

Janssen, A.M., Scheffer, J.J., Ntezurubanza, L., Baerheim S.A. (1989). Antimicrobial acitivities of some Ocimum species grown in Rwanda. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 26: 57-63.

Bassole, I.H.N., Ouattara, A.S., Nebie, R., Ouattara, C.A.T., Kabore, Z.I. and Traore, S.A. (2003), Chemical composition and antibacterial activities of the essential oils of Lippia chevalieri and Lippia multiflora from Burkina Faso. Phytochemistry, 62: 209-212.

Keville, K. and Green, M. (1995). Aromatherapy - A Complete Guide to the Healing Art. Crossing Press, California. 158 pp.

Hussain, A.I., Anwar, F., Sherazi, S.T.H. and Przybylski, R. (2008). Chemical composition, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of basil (Ocimum basilicum) essential oils depends on seasonal variations. Food Chemistry, 108: 986-995.

Chalchat, J.C. and Ozcan, M. M. (2008). Comparative essential oil composition of flowers, leaves and stems of basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) used as herb. Food Chemistry, 110: 501-503.

Hussain, A.I. (2009). Characterization and Biological Activities of Essential Oils of Some Species of Lamiaceae. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan. 218 pp.

Anwar, F., Hussain, A.I., Sherazi, S.T.H., Bhanger, M.I. (2009). Changes in composition and antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of essential oil of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.) fruit at different stages of maturity. Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinals Plants, 15: 1-16.

Handa, S.S. (2008). An overview of extraction techniques for medicinal and aromatic plants. In: Handa, S.S., Singh Khanuja, S.P., Longo, G., Rakesh, D.D. (Eds.), Extraction Technologies for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. ICS UNIDO, Trieste, pp. 21–54.

Carter, C.D. (1978). Cultivated sunflower. Oxford University Press, London. 420 pp.

Akobundu, I.O. and Agyakwa, C.W. (1998). A Handbook of West African Weeds, 2nd Edition. International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan. pp.190.

Lordbanjou, D.T. (1991). Studies on Mexican sunflower Tithonia diversifolia (Hemsl.) A. Gray in Southwestern Nigeria. M.Sc. Thesis. University of Ibadan.

Chukwuka, K.S. (2003). Biology and Control of Tithonia diversifolia (Hemsl). A. Gray- A new exotic weed in Nigeria. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.

Chukwuka, K.S, Ogunyemi, S. and Fawole, I. (2007). Ecological distribution of Tithonia diversifolia (Hemsl). A. Gray – A new exotic weed in Nigeria. Journal of Biological Science, 7: 709–719.

Moronkola, D.O., Ogunwande, I.A., Walker, T.M., Setzer, W.N. and Oyewole, I.O. (2007). Identification of the main volatile compounds in the leaf and flower of Tithonia diversifolia (Hemsl) Gray. Journal of Natural Medicine, 61:63–66.

Srividya, A.R., Shalom, A., Chandrasekhar, R. and Vijayan, P. (2009). Antioxidant, antimicrobial and in vitro cytotoxicity studies of Tithonia diversifolia A. grey. Int. J. Pharmaceut. Sci., 1: 276-279.

Yemele, B.M., Karsten, K., Hidayat, H., Etienne, D. and Barbara, B. (2006). Thithoniaquinone A and tithoniamide B: a new anthraquinone, and a new ceramide from leaves of Tithonia diversifolia. .J. Chemical Sci., 61(1):78-84.

Elufioye, T.O. and Agbedahunsi J.M. (2004). Antimalarial activities of Tithonia diversifolia (Asteraceae) and Crossopteries febrifuga (Rubiaceae) on mice in vivo. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 93: 167-171.

Oyedokun, A.V., Anikwe, J.C., Okelana, F.A., Mokwunye, I.U. and Azeez, O.M. (2011). Pesticidal efficacy of three tropical herbal plants’ leaf extracts against Macrotermes bellicosus, an emerging pest of cocoa, Theobroma cacao L. Journal of Biopesticides, 4(2): 131-137.

Cos, P., Hermans, N., De B.T., Apers, S., Sindambiwe, J.B., Witvrouw, M., De, C.E., Vandem, B.D., Pieters, L. and Vlietinck, A.J. (2002). Antiviral activity of Rwandan medicinal plants against human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1). Phytomedicine, 9(1): 62-68.

Lifongo, L.L., Simoben, C.V., Ntie-Kang, F., Babiaka, S.B. and Judson, P.N. (2014). A bioactivity versus ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants from Nigeria, West Africa. Nat. Prod. Bioprospect., 2014 Feb; 4(1): 1–19.

Onyeke, C.C. and Maduewesi, J.N.C. (2006). Evaluation of some plant extracts for the control of post-harvest fungal diseases of banana (Musa sapientum Linn.) fruit in south-eastern Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Botany, 19(1), 129-137.

Chon, H., Peng, L.Y., Jiang, B., Hon, A.J., Lia, Z.W. and Sun, H.D. (2000). Chemical constituents from Tithonia diversifolia, Yannan Zhiwu Yanjiu 22: 361– 364.

Kuo, Y.H. and Chen, C.H. (1998). Sesquiterpenes from the leaves of Tithonia diversifolia. J. Nat. Prod. 61: 827-828.

Agusta, D.A. and Jamal, Y. (1999). Chemical components and antibacterial assay of Kirinyu (Tithonia diversifolia) leaves extract. Indonesian J. Pharm. (Majalah Farmasi Indonesia) 10: 113 – 120.

Lamaty, G., Menut, C., Zollo, P. H. A., Kuiate, J.R., Bessiere, J.M. (1991). Aromatic plants of tropical Central Africa III. Constituents of the essential oils of the leaves of Tithonia diversifolia (Hemsl) A. Gray from Cameroon. J. Essent. Oil Res., 3: 399-402.

Gbolade, A.A., Biondi, D.M. and Ruberto, G. (2008). Comparative analysis of the essential oils from two Asteraceous plants found in Nigeria, Acanthospermum hispidum and Tithonia diversifolia. Nat. Prod. Comm., 3: 1735–1738.

Menut, C., Lamaty, G., Amvam Zollo, P.-H., Kuiate, J.R. and Bessière, J.-M. (1992). Aromatic plants of tropical central africa: IX. Chemical composition of flower essential oils of Tithoniadiversifolia (Hemsl.) A. Gray from Cameroon. J. Ess. Oil Res., 4: 651–653.

Perry, N.B., Anderson, R.E., Brennan, N.J., Douglas, M.H., Heaney, A.J., McGimsey, J.A., and Smallfield, B.M. (1999). Essential oils from Dalmation sage (Salvia officinalis L.): variations among individuals, plant parts, seasons and sites. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 47: 2048-2054.

Sule, W.F., Okonko, I.O., Omo-Ogun, S., (...), Soyemi, E.T., Olaonipekun, T.O. (2011). Phytochemical properties and in-vitro antifungal activity of Senna alata Linn. crude stem bark extract. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. 5 (2): 176-183.

Obafemi, C.A., Sulaimon, T.O., Akinpelu, D.A. and Olugbade, T.A. (2006). Antimicrobial activity of extracts and germacranolide-type sesquiterpene lactone from Tithonia diversifolia leaf extract. Afr. J. Biotechnol., 5: 1254-1258.

Bachir, R.G., Benali, M. Antibacterial activity of the essential oils from the leaves of Eucalyptus globulus against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2012 Sep; 2(9): 739–742. doi: 10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60220-2.

Ilondu, E.M. (2012). Fungitoxic activity of leaf extracts from four Asteraceae against Sclerotiumrolfsil Sacc., an isolate of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas (L) Lam) vine rot disease. Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences, 3(2): 287-295.

Chiejina N.V. and Ukeh J.A. (2013). Efficacy of Aframomum melegueta and Zingiber officinale extracts on fungal pathogens of tomato fruits. IOSR Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences, 4(6): 13-16.

Ragasa C.Y., Tepora, M.M. and Rideout, J.A. (2008). Terpenoids from Tithonia diversifolia. Journal of Research in Science, Computing and Engineering, 4(1): 1- 7.

Rai, M.K. and Acharya, D. (2000). Search for fungitoxic potential in essential oils of Asteraceous plants. Compositae Newsletter, 35: 18-23.

Astiti, N.P.A. and Suprapta, D.N. (2012). Antifungal activity of teak (Tectona grandis L.F) leaf extract against Arthrinium phaeospermum (Corda) M.B. Ellis, the cause of wood decay on Albizia falcataria (L.) Fosberg. Journal ISSAAS,18(1):62-69.

Enikuomehin, O.A. (2005). Cercospora leaf spot disease management in sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) with plant extracts. Journal of Tropical Agriculture, 43 (1-2): 19-23.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 Oludare Oladipo Agboola, Stephen Oyedeji, Abdulwakeel Ajao, Oladipo Aregbesola

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.