Leaf, fruit, stem, bark and root of Zanthoxylum americanum were investigated for antifungal activity with 11 strains of fungi representing diverse opportunistic and systemic pathogens, including Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans and Aspergillus fumigatus. All extracts demonstrated a broad spectrum of antifungal activity and inhibited at least eight fungal species in a disk diffusion assay (600 μg/disk). Antifungal activity was light-dependent, with fruit and leaf extracts most active in general. The presence of light-mediated compounds, such as psoralen, 8-methoxypsoralen and imperatorin in extracts of different organs was confirmed by RP-HPLC. A high furanocoumarin content was detected in fruit and leaf and low furanocoumarin levels were found in bark and wood. A high positive correlation was observed between total furanocoumarin content and fungal inhibition zones (r 2=0.902, p<0.001). The results provide a phytochemical basis for the very widespread use of Z. americanum in indigenous North American ethnomedical tradition for conditions that may be related to fungal infections.

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Keywords Antifungal activity, Furanocoumarins, Zanthoxylum americanum
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2003.12.005
Journal Phytomedicine
Bafi-Yeboa, N.F.A. (N. F.A.), Arnason, J.T. (J. T.), Baker, J. (J.), & Smith, M. (2005). Antifungal constituents of Northern prickly ash, Zanthoxylum americanum Mill. Phytomedicine, 12(5), 370–377. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2003.12.005