Introduction: Termilia ferdindia (TF) is an endemic Australian tive plant long used as a food and a medicil agent by Indigenous Australians. Yet the medicil bioactivities of this plant are poorly studied. Methods: TF extracts were prepared with various solvents, dried and then re-dissolved in water. Antibacterial activity of these TF preparations was determined by growth inhibition against a panel of pathogenic bacteria and fungi. Toxicity (LC50) was assessed by the Artemia franciscan (brine shrimp) uplii bioassay. Results: All extracts displayed antibacterial activity in the disc diffusion assay. The methanol extract proved to have the broadest specificity, inhibiting the growth of 13 of the 14 bacteria tested (93%). Individual MIC's were as low as 30 姯ml for some bacteria. The deionised water extract inhibited the growth of 11 of the 14 bacteria tested (79%). The ethyl acetate, chloroform and hexane extracts inhibited 21%, 29% and 14% respectively. TF methanolic extracts were equally effective against Gram-positive (100 %) and Gram-negative bacteria (90 %). All other extracts were more effective at inhibiting the growth of Gram-positive bacteria. The water, ethyl acetate, chloroform and hexane extracts inhibited the growth of 100, 50, 50 and 50 % Gram-positive bacteria respectively. In contrast, they inhibited the growth of 70, 10, 20 and 0 % Gram-negative bacteria respectively. All TF extracts were either non-toxic (ethyl acetate, chloroform, hexane) with no significant increase in mortality induction, or of low toxicity (LC50 >1000 姯ml) (methanol, deionised water) in the Artemia fransisca bioassay. Conclusions: The low toxicity of the TF extracts and their inhibitory bioactivity against a range of bacteria validate traditiol Aborigil usage of the Kakadu plum and indicates its medicil potential as well as its value as a rich source of tural vitamin C.
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