Affiliation: Department of Microbiology, JN Medical College&Hospital, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh-202 002, U.P., India.
Pasteur and Joubert, in 1877, were among the first to recognize the potential of microbial products as therapeutic agents and demonstrated that common microorganisms could inhibit the growth of Anthrax bacilli. However, the milestone in the field of antimicrobial agents was the advent of penicillin, in 1928, by Alexander Fleming from a strain of the mold Penicillium. Since then, the fungi and higher plants have been searched for the production/preparation of novel antibacterial compounds, including cephalosporins and aminoglycosides. However, due to increasing usage and selection pressure, bacteria have started expressing resistance to these compounds. Hence, there is an urgent need to review and search for newer antibacterial compounds derived from plant species. In this review, the potential of plant species to yield newer antibacterial agents will be illustrated with an emphasis on compounds exclusively isolated in very recent years. Some of the issues pertinent to this area will be briefly reviewed and it is hoped that this would definitely stimulate further discussions and research on this important aspect.