East Afr Med J. 1998 Sep; 75(9): 508-11.
Disinfectant/antiparasitic activities of Jatropha curcas.
Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Nigeria.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the disinfectant/antiparasitic activities of Jatropha curcas as a first step in providing a cheap, readily available disinfectant and malaria vector control agent. DESIGN: Bacteriological and parasitologic tests were carried out on laboratory bench surfaces using the sap and crushed leaves of Jatropha curcas. Four rectangular areas labelled A, B, C and D were first swabbed and streaked onto McConkey and Nutrient agar plates. Section A was treated with "Hibiscrub", D with exterma germcloth, B and C with full strength sap and leaf extracts respectively. Effect of the sap was also tested on helminth ova, vector control on mosquito eggs and toxic effects of the sap on mice. SETTING: The study was carried out in the medical microbiology laboratory of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos. RESULTS: Observation showed that the sap extracted germicidal actions on the growth of common bacteria of Staphylococcus, Bacillus and Micrococcus species on contact and retained such effects on treated laboratory bench surface for close to six hours after initial application. Ova of Ascaris Lumbricoides and Necator americanus incubated in 50% and 100 concentrations of the sap at room temperature showed either no evidence of embryonation after 21 days in the case of A. Lumbricoides, negation of hatchability in hookworm, or complete distortion in both. The sap also exhibited strong inhibitory effect on normal larval growth of mosquito, but was highly toxic to mice when administered through oral or intraperitoneal routes. CONCLUSION: J. curcas would provide a very cheap, readily available disinfectant and malaria vector control agent and should be commercially exploited.