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Anticancer Activity Test for Extracts of Sarang Semut Plant part - I

The aim of this study is to investigate anticancer activity of methanol extract (ethylacetate, n-buthanol and water partitions) and water extract from Sarang semut (local name), Myrmecodya pendens which is one of Rubiaceae family. Within Papua area (Indonesia), this medicinal plant has been used traditionally as alternative treatment for ulcer, tumor and cancer. In this study, the extracts of this plant were tested for their activities in some cancer cells (HeLa and MCM-B2 cell). The result showed that water extract of this plant has better anti cancer activity compared to other extracts. The IC50 value of water extract A is 27.61 ppm (HeLa) and 54.57 ppm (MCM-B2), while water extract B is 29.36 ppm (HeLa) and 74.20 ppm (MCM-B2). Our study concluded that polar extract (water) exhibited higher anticancer activity than non-polar extracts (ethylacetate and n-buthanol).

Indonesia, passed by the equator line, is a country with more than 17.000 islands. Sixty percent of its land is covered by 120.3 hectare of giant forest, making it one of the richest countries in biodiversity in the world. Indonesia possesses 30.000 plant species, nevertheless, only 940 of which have been identified (Pramono, 1999). One of the unidentified medicinal plants is Sarang semut (Myrmecodia pendens) which might be potential for new source of new therapeutic agents.

The first information about this plant originated from empirical knowledge of local society in Papua island which is located in Eastern Indonesia. They consider Sarang semut plant as remedy for ulcer, haemorrhoid, nosebleed, backache, allergy, uric acid disorder, stroke, coronary heart problem, TBC, tumor, cancer, lactagogum, etc. (Subroto and Saputro, 2006). Generally, part of plant used as remedy is its hypocotyl (caudex) by drinking its boiling water (decoction).

In Papua, Sarang semut plant can be found in central mountain, Jayawijaya, Tolikara, Puncak Jaya, Gunung Bintang and Paniai (Subroto and Saputro, 2006). This plant also scattered from Malay Peninsula to The Philippines, Cambodia, Sumatra, Java, Papua, Cape York as well as the Solomon Islands.

In Sumatra, Sarang semut plant is named rumah semut, in Jawa, ulek-ulek polo, Papua, lokon, suhendep, nongon, Malaysia, periok hantu, peruntak, sembuku, Vietnam, by ki nan, ki nam gai, ki nam kin.

Generally, Sarang semut plant lives as ephyphyte on Cajuput plant (Melaleuca), Cemara gunung (Casuarina), Kaha plant (Castanopsis) and Beech (Nothophagus). It is called Sarang semut since, the inner part of its hypocotyl is used as nest (sarang, Indonesian language) by ants from genus Iridomyrmex. Most of Sarang semut plants are usually colonized by 1 species of ants. Based on identification, plant Myrmecodia pendens is colonized by ant Ochetellus sp.

Sarang semut plant is a member of Rubiaceae family with 5 genus, however, only 2 of which have association with ants. They are Myrmecodia (45 species) and Hypnophytum (26 species). From those species, only Hypnophytum formicarum, Myrmecodia pendens and Myrmecodia tuberosa are considered to have medicinal value.

Scientific publication on Sarang semut plant is still difficult to obtain and generally only discussing about its ecology, taxonomy and ethnobotany. The toxicity test using BSLT method found that LC50 value of water extract, ethylacetate extract and n-buthanol extract of this plant is ranging from 37.03 to 55.58 ?L mL-1. This result is one of motivations to carry out anticancer activity test of this plant by using some cancer cells derived from both human cervic and canine breast, named HeLa cells and MCM-B2, respectively. This study has been carried out because cancer is still one of the primary causes of death in the world thus, far with the hope that this plant could be used as potential anticancer medicine.

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News Release: Anticancer Activity Test for Extracts of Sarang Semut Plant part - I
Submitted on: September 14, 2018 11:56:08 AM
Submitted by: organicelements
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