In developing African countries like Ethiopia, livestock production remains essential and represents a major asset among resource-poor smallholder farmers by giving milk, meat, skin, manure, and traction. However, the economic benefits of livestock populations remain minimal due to prevailing livestock diseases, which are among the principal obstacles for livestock performance and cause of high economic losses of the resource-poor farmers (41).
The majority of traditional medicines used in developing countries have not been evaluated for quality, safety, and efficacy to some standards while in developed countries there are some remarkable claims made for their effectiveness (12). presently, many bacterial pathogens are becoming resistant to the existing antibiotics due to their misuse or repeated use of antibiotics in the treatment of infectious diseases; because of these, scientists advance in their research findings on the bacterial targets to attack the evolved bacteria and attention towards to the popular plant extracts and biologically active compounds isolated from the plant (38). This condition increases incidences of drug resistance and the emergence and re-emergence of deadly microorganisms are posing a great threat to society (48).
Currently, the emergence of resistant pathogens to many of the commonly used antibiotics has provided an impetus for further attempts to search for new antimicrobial agents to combat infections and overcome the problems of resistance to currently available antimicrobial agents (5). Ethiopia is known for its high livestock population, being the first in Africa and tenth in the world (8). The current livestock population estimate stands at 59.5 million cattle, 30.70 million sheep, 30.20 million goats, and 1.21 million camels, considering only ruminant livestock species. In addition, 8.44 million donkeys, 2.16 million horses, 0.41 million miles, and 56.53 million poultry comprise the livestock resource of Ethiopia (9). Ethiopia is endowed with diverse biological resources including about 6, 500 species of higher plants, out of which more than 14% are said to have been used as traditional plant medicines to treat different human and livestock ailments, while more than 1,000 species have been documented at the Ethiopian National Herbarium database (44).
In Ethiopia, medicinal plants play important role in fulfilling the human and livestock health care needs of different communities. Traditional use of medicinal plants has remained as the main alternative solution for different human and livestock health problems largely due to shortage of pharmaceutical products and modern health service stations, unaffordable prices of conventional drugs, and drug resistance in Ethiopia (1). In Ethiopia, the animal disease remains one of the principal causes of poor livestock performance leading to an ever-increasing gap between the supply of, and the demand for livestock products. Conventional veterinary services, despite their paramount role, have limited coverage in developing countries due to this reason livestock keepers particularly in rural areas frequently visit traditional healers to get solutions for their ill-health animals; they complement modern medicine by developing a socially acceptable remedy from inexpensive resources (15).
Cucumis Ficifolius is a prostrate herb (21). this plant grows in Grassland, wooded grassland, Acacia woodland, rocky slopes, secondary vegetation, and cultivated places and is known for its wide range of medicinal uses (27). The vernacular name of C. ficifolius is Yemidier embuay (Amharic language). Traditionally fruit part of Cucumis ficifolium is used as an abortifacient for women and hastens expulsion of the placenta for cows in Ethiopia. The fruit pars are also recognized in Ethiopia as highly toxic and are reported to treat rabies. In Nigeria and Ethiopia, the fresh fruit with an end cut-off is applied thimble-like as addressing for inflamed fingers. The fruit has veterinary use as a vermifuge with the addition of natron for horses by the Hausa. It is also used as a medicine for fowls. In some places, it is an ingredient of medicine for syphilis and as an emetic and in small doses with honey to relieve stomach ache for children, in Ethiopia it is also used for the treatment of “Kuruba, Chiffea, Mageriat geter (meningitis), nessir (epistaxis), wefbeshita leafs also used for‘yekusilmerz (worsening external figure injury) and yeahyakintarot (wart) (37). Also, the roots are a remedy for malaria. The Root extract of C. ficifolius is recorded to be used in local honey-wine or “Tej” to make the beverage more intoxicating (27).
Natural compounds are a source of numerous therapeutic agents. Recent progress to discover drugs from natural sources has resulted in compounds that are being developed to treat cancer, resistant bacteria and viruses, and immunosuppressive disorders (2). Phytoconstituents are the natural bioactive compounds found in plants that could prevent diseases and inhibit pathogenic microorganisms (22, 35). Phytoconstituents are divided into two groups, i.e. primary and secondary constituents according to their functions in plant metabolism. Primary constituents comprise common sugars, amino acids, proteins, and chlorophyll while secondary constituents consist of alkaloids, terpenoids, saponins, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and tannins. Phytoconstituents could prevent diseases and inhibit pathogenic microorganisms (21).
Phytochemical analysis of the plants belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family confirms the presence of various phytochemicals like tannins, cardiac glycosides, terpenoides, saponins, carotenoids, and phytosterols. Phytochemical screening of the leaves revealed the presence of tannins, phlorotannins, flavonoids, steroids, terpenoids, saponins, Terphinoid, Quinone, phenol, and cardiac glycosides, which are the most important bioactive constituents of medicinal plants (3).
Scientists are in search of new phytochemicals that could develop as useful anti-microbial for the treatment of infectious diseases (47). Currently out of 80% of pharmaceuticals derived from plants, very few of them are used as anti-microbial. But, Plants are rich in a wide variety of secondary metabolites that have found anti-microbial properties (34). The current demand for herbal remedies in both developed and developing countries is increasing (7). Screening active compounds from plants has led to the discovery of new medicinal drugs which have efficient protection and treatment roles against various diseases, including cancer (37, 21).
Since Cucumis ficifolium belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family it has different phytochemical constituents. Therefore the presence of tannins, terpenoides, Quinone, saponins, flavonoids, and steroids in Cucumis ficifolium had a different role in the treatments of the pathogen. Despite people using Cucumis ficifolium as traditional medicinal value for wound healing, treatment of fowl disease, treat syphilis, fumigation, etc. However; the antibiotic activity and phytochemicals composition of this plant is not known thus the study was providing the phytoconstituents and antibiotic activity of Cucumis ficifolium plant on the selected pathogen.
The specific objective of this study were
To assess the antibacterial activity of the aqueous-methanol extracts of the Cucumis ficifolius seed, leaf, and fruit parts.
To perform the preliminary phytochemical screening of crude extracts from fruit, seed, and leave parts of Cucumis ficifolius.