The fractions of volatile compounds in plants are essential in defining the sensory impact of an aromatic smell, as well as being of some medicinal importance. Epicuticular wax in plants also determine its susceptibility to disease, and herbivore, desiccation and ultraviolet radiation damage. The epicuticular wax consisting of hydrocarbons and some volatile compounds of the leaves of Kigelia pinnata (Kigelia africana; family Bignoniaceae), a multimedicinal plant, was extracted, isolated and analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively for the various chemical compositions using GC (equipped with a flame thermionic detector -GC/FTD) and GCMS (“GCMS-QP2010 Plus, which employs a dual inlet Turbo Molecular Pump (TMP) that provides increased sensitivity and column flow capacity for improved performance and confident results. The evaluation is useful for the future comprehensive analysis of the constituents responsible for the various documented medicinal uses of the leaf. The extracted constituent revealed twelve compounds with the major ones identified as n-hentriacontane (55.40%): a probable anti-tumour compound; 1-tricosene, (18.45%); 11- (2,2- dimethylpropyl) heneicosane, (9.66%); 2,6,10-trimethyldodecane, (4.43%); pentafluoroheptadecyl ester, (4.40%); 2-ethylhexyloctadecyl sulfurous acid ester, (3.05%); heneicosane, (1.61%); and hexyloctyl sulphurous acid ester, (1.42%). Other compounds are recorded in minute quantities. The major component, identified as hentriacontane, a C-31 saturated hydrocarbon apparently is responsible for the plant susceptibility to diseases, protection against UV radiation and for the antitumour and antioxidative potential of the plant. This will give credence to the traditional use of the plant as an anti-inflammatory and anticancer. The ability of the plant to act as anti-sun burn may be due to the presence of the wax.
Olubunmi, Atolani and Gabriel, Olatunji A.
"Epicuticular Wax and Volatiles of Kigelia pinnata Leaf Extract,"
Ethnobotanical Leaflets: Vol. 2010
, Article 10.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/ebl/vol2010/iss7/10