Namibian chewing stick, Diospyros lycioides, contains antibacterial compounds against oral pathogens
The twigs of Diospyros lycioides, a plant commonly known as 'muthala', are frequently used as chewing sticks for the cleaning of teeth by rural and urban people in Namibia. Preliminary studies showed that a methanol extract of D. lycioides inhibited growth of selected oral pathogens. Subsequent bioassay-guided fractionation led to the isolation of four novel bioactive naphthalene glycosides, diospyrosides A, B, C, and D (1-4), and two known bioactive naphthoquinones, juglone (5) and 7-methyljuglone (6). The structures of the new compounds were elucidated using spectroscopic techniques including 1D and 2D NMR. These compounds inhibited the growth of oral cariogenic bacteria (Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sanguis) and periodontal pathogens (Porphyromonas gingivalis and Prevotella intermedia) at minimum inhibitory concentrations ranging from 0.019 to 1.25 mg/mL. Juglone exhibited the strongest inhibitory activity among these compounds.