HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Paris, France or Virtually from your home or work.

8th Edition of International Conference on

Traditional Medicine, Ethnomedicine and Natural Therapies

June 05-07, 2025 | Rome, Italy

Traditional Medicine 2023

Antibacterial effects of elephantorrhiza elephantina on staphylococcus aureus cellular morphology

Speaker at Traditional Medicine, Ethnomedicine and Natural Therapies 2023 - Tlotlo Radebe
Central University of Technology, South Africa
Title : Antibacterial effects of elephantorrhiza elephantina on staphylococcus aureus cellular morphology


Background: Human pathogenic bacteria are known to cause infections/diseases. Antibiotics are the recommended treatment for infections caused by pathogenic bacteria. Over the years, bacteria have managed to acquire resistance against antibiotics, the so called multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria. MDR bacteria have increased at an alarming rate over the recent decades and has caused a substantial health burden. The use of medicinal plants is still regarded as a treatment option in the current healthcare sector and among rural communities. Traditional medicinal plants have been used for many years as they are more affordable, easily accessible and less toxic. Even with the modernisation of the healthcare system, people still trust and rely on traditional medicinal remedies. Research on the antibacterial properties of medicinal plants, may combat the burden on the health sector. This study evaluated the antibacterial properties of Elephantorrhiza elephantina to assess its potential as a novel antibacterial drug against MDR bacteria.
Method: The phytochemical analysis was evaluated using the qualitative and quantitative assays. Antibacterial activity was evaluated using the broth microdilution method and the disc diffusion method. The effects of E. elephantina on S. aureus’ cellular morphology was observed using scanning and transmission electron microscopy.
Results: The results showed a strong antibacterial activity against S. aureus. Microscopic examination of the cells showed major structural changes, which included swelling of the cells, damage to cell walls evident from holes on the surface of the cells, loss of cytoplasmic contents resulted in shrinkage and wrinkling of the cells that eventually resulted in cell death.
Conclusion: The cellular morphological disruptions of the cell wall of S. aureus elucidates the antibacterial properties of E. elephantina and supports its probable use in the development of antibacterial drugs using selected medicinal plants.

Audience Take Away Notes:

  • This study will assist with an improved understanding on the mode of action of the plant’s antibacterial mechanism to inhibit the growth of bacteria
  • This study investigated the cellular changes the bacteria cell undertook when subjected to the plant extract. This could give more understanding on how the plant disrupts the cell cycle and it stages to lead to cell death.
  • This study could help with new development of novel antibacterial agents against MDR bacteria. With new drug development it will help with the burdened healthcare sector facing the serious problem of MDR bacteria.
  • Yes, this study provided new information on the particular plant’s antibacterial properties against bacterial cells and supported its existing literature.


Tlotlo Radebe is currently participating in the Phase 1: Nurturing Emerging Scholars Programme as an intern within the Health Science department at the Central University of Technology, Free State, South Africa. Her responsibilities include lecturing in the medical laboratory Science programme, conducting research and community engagement. Radebe holds a BSc (Honors) in Medical Laboratory Science and is awaiting her results for her MSc in Health Science qualification. Her research interests are in the areas of traditional medicinal plants, with a focus on the discovery of potential medicinal plants to be used against multidrug resistant bacteria. She has previously published a review article on Elephantorrhiza elephantina, and is currently working towards publishing her research findings on the antibacterial effects of medicinal plants on MDR bacteria.