Pharmaceutical biology

Antimicrobial activity and chemical composition of fixed oil extracted from the body fat of the snake Spilotes pullatus.

PMID 24559315


Ethnozoological studies have shown that Spilotes pullatus Linn. (Colubridae: Ophidia), is associated with medicinal and magic-religious uses in Brazil. This study was designed to determine the chemical composition of the oil extracted from the body fat of S. pullatus and to test its antimicrobial properties, alone and in association with aminoglycosides, against fungi and bacterial strains in concentrations ranging between 1024 and 0.5 µg/mL. The snakes were collected in the Chapada do Araripe, county of Crato, Ceará State, Brazil. The oil was extracted in a Soxhlet apparatus using hexane. The methyl esters of the fatty acids present in the samples were identified using GC-MS. The antimicrobial and drug modulatory activities of oil were tested by microdilution against fungal and bacterial strains. The chemical composition of the fixed oils of S. pullatus identified 10 constituents representing 94.97% of the total sample. The percentages of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids were 33.59 and 61.38%, respectively, with the most abundant components being elaidic (37.26%). The oil did not demonstrate any antimicrobial or antifungal activity when tested alone, presenting MIC values ≥ 1024 µg/mL. However, when associated with antibiotics, it demonstrated synergistic effects with gentamicin against all the bacterial lineages assayed, and antagonistic effects with amikacin and neomycin against strains of Escherichia coli. Oil extracted from the body fat of S. pullatus did not demonstrate any inhibitory effects on bacterial or fungal activities, but was effective in modulating the effects of certain antibiotics.