Scleropyrum pentandrum (Dennst.) Mabb belongs to the family Santalaceae and grows along the margin of evergreen to semi-evergreen forests. The present study was designed to investigate mineral composition, cytotoxic and anticariogenic potential of S. pentandrum leaves. The mineral content in powdered leaf material was estimated by using atomic absorption spectrophotometer. The methanol extract was tested for anticariogenic activity against 24 oral isolates of Streptococcus mutans by Agar well diffusion method. Cytotoxic activity of extract was determined by brine shrimp lethality bioassay against the brine shrimp Artemia nauplii. Among the principal elements, high potassium content followed by calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Among trace elements, iron was detected in high concentration followed by manganese, zinc and copper. The extract was found to cause inhibition of oral bacterial isolates in a dose dependent manner. The diameter of inhibition zone formed was in the range of 1.7 to 2.3cm and 1.3 to 2.0cm at extract concentration of 20mg/ml and 10mg/ml respectively. The lethality of extract against brine shrimps in terms of mortality of shrimps was directly proportional to the concentration of the extract and highest mortality (33%) was observed at 1000μg/ml concentration. Phytochemical screening of extract revealed the presence of alkaloids, saponins, tannins and glycosides and these phytoconstituents could be responsible for the observed anticariogenic and cytotoxic potential of the extract. Further studies on characterization of active components in the extract and their bioactivities are to be carried out.
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