The aqueous extracts of 30 out of 67 Chinese medicinal herbs were shown to have inhibitory effects on growth of Xanthomonas euvesicatoria by a paper disc diffusion assay. The inhibitory substances with the strongest antibacterial activity were extracted from Chinese sumac gallnut and black myrobalan. The aqueous extract of gallnut inhibited the growth of eight of the tested plant-pathogenic bacteria, and that of black myrobalan inhibited five. The gallnut extract produced at least an 8-mm inhibition zone against Acidovorax citrulli, Ralstonia solanacearum, X. citri pv. citri, and X. euvesicatoria at a 10-fold dilution, and it was still active at 800- to 1,600-fold dilutions. The aqueous extract of gallnut was more inhibitory than the acetone-water extract. To identify the inhibitory compounds in the gallnut aqueous extract, the crude extract was chromatographed over a silica column, and the primary compounds in fractions 3 and 8 were identified by nuclear magnetic resonance as gallic acid and methyl gallate, respectively. The inhibitory effect of methyl gallate on the growth of four plant-pathogenic bacteria was 10 to 80 times that of gallic acid. The minimum inhibition and minimum bactericidal concentration tests showed that the inhibition effect of the original aqueous was higher than that of methyl gallate. These results indicate that methyl gallate in gallnut is an important compound that is inhibitory to plant-pathogenic bacterial growth, and there are other unidentified compounds that are also responsible for the antibacterial effects. This is the first report regarding the antibacterial effects of gallnut extract and its chemical components on plant-pathogenic bacteria.
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