The antimicrobial activity of substances derived from the lichens Physcia aipolia, Umbilicaria polyphylla, Parmelia caperata and Hypogymnia physodes

  • Branislav RankovićEmail author
  • Marijana Mišić
  • Slobodan Sukdolak


In this study, in vitro antimicrobial activity of the physodic acid, usnic acid, atranorin and gyrophoric acid isolated from the lichens Hypogymnia physodes, Parmelia caperata, Physcia aipolia and Umbilicaria polyphylla, has been investigated. An antibiotic assessment was done against six bacteria (three Gram-positive and three Gram-negative) and eight fungi by determining the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) by the broth tube dilution method. The tested lichen substances inhibited growth of all the tested microorganisms. The bacteria showed a higher sensitivity against the tested fungi. The highest antimicrobial activity was found in the usnic acid of the Parmelia caperata lichen, where the lowest MIC was 0.0037 mg/ml against the Klebsiella pneumoniae (even lower than the one given by the streptomycin standard). The weakest antimicrobial activity was found in the physodic acid, which inhibited most of the microorganisms in the concentration of 1 mg/ml. Generally, all the components had relatively strong antimicrobial activity against the tested microorganisms, among which were human and animal pathogens. This could be of significance for their use for pharmaceutical purposes.


Antimicrobial activity Lichen compounds 



This work was financed partially by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Development of the Republic of Serbia and the results of studies in Project 143041B.


  1. Ahmadjian V (1993) The lichen simbiosis. John Wiley and SonsGoogle Scholar
  2. Candan M, Yilmaz M, Tay T, Kivanc M (2006) Antimicrobial activity of extracts of the lichen Xanthoparmelia pokornyi and its gyrophoric and stenosporic acid constituents. Z Naturforsch C 61:319–323Google Scholar
  3. Cocchietto M, Skert N, Nimis PL, Sava G (2002) A review on usnic acid, an interesting natural compound. Naturwissenchaften 89:137–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Gulluce M, Aslan A, Sokmen M, Sahin F, Adiguzel A, Agar G, Sokmen A (2006) Screening the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of the lichens Parmelia saxatilis, Platismatia glauca, Ramalina pollinaria, Ramalina polymorpha and Umbilicaria nylanderiana. Phytomedicine 13:515–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hostettmann K, Wolfender JL, Rodriguez S (1987) Rapid detections and subsequent isolation of bioactive constituents of crude plant extracts. Planta Med 63:2–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Huneck S (1999) The significance of lichens and their metabolites. Naturwissenschaften 86:559–570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Huneck S, Yoshimura I (1996) Identification of lichen substances. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  8. Ingolfsdöttir K, Chung GAC, Gissurarson SR, Skulason VG, Vilhelmsdottir M (1998) In vitro antimycobacterial activity of lichen metabolites. Eur J Pharm Sci 6:141–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Karaman I, Sanin F, Güllüce M, Ogütcü H, Sengul M, Adigüzel A (2003) Antimicrobial activity of aquaeos and methanol extracts of Juniperus oxicedrus. J Ethnopharmacol 37:1–5Google Scholar
  10. Lauterwein M, Oethinger M, Belsner K, Peters T, Marre R (1995) In vitro activities of the lichen secondary metabolites vulpinic acid, (+)-usnic acid and (−)-usnic acid against aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 39:2541–2543Google Scholar
  11. Lawrey JD (1986) Biological role of lichen substances. Bryologist 89:11–122Google Scholar
  12. Müller K (2001) Pharmaceutically relevant metabolites from lichens. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 56:9–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. NCCLS (National Commitee for Clinical Laboratory Standards) (1998) Reference method for broth dilution antifungal susceptibility testing of conidium-forming filamentous fungi: proposed standard M38-P. NCCLS, Wayne, PA, USAGoogle Scholar
  14. Ranković B, Mišić M (2007) Antifungal activity of extract of the lichens Alectoria sarmentosa and Cladonia rangiferina. Mikol Fitopatol 41:276–281Google Scholar
  15. Richardson DHS (1988) Medicinal and other economic aspects of lichens. In: Galun M (eds) CRC handbook of lichenology. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp 93–108Google Scholar
  16. Turk H, Yilmaz M, Tay T, Turk AO, Kivanc M (2006) Antimicrobial activity of extracts of chemical races of the lichen Pseudevernia furfuracea and their physodic acid, chloroatranorin, atranorin, and olivetoric acid constituents. Z Naturforsch C 61:499–507Google Scholar
  17. Vartia KO (1973) Antibiotics in lichens. In: Ahmadjian V, Hale ME (eds) The lichens. Academic Press, New York, pp 547–561Google Scholar
  18. Yilmaz M, Türk ÖA, Tay T, Kivanç M (2004) The antimicrobial activity of the lichen Cladonia foliacea and its (−)-usnic acid, atranorin, and fumarprotocetraric acid constituents. Z Naturforsch C 59:249–254Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Branislav Ranković
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marijana Mišić
    • 1
  • Slobodan Sukdolak
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of KragujevacKragujevacSerbia
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of KragujevacKragujevacSerbia

Personalised recommendations