Project in action: Phytodecon

This project is being coordinated by Prof Khalijah Awang and the members of this project are as follows: Dr Azeana Zahari, Dr Liew Sook Yee, Dr Sugumaran Manickam, Dr Aqmal Othman and Ms Hazrina Hazni (Universiti Malaya), Dr Chaker El Kalamauni (Université de La Réunion) and Dr Marc Litaudon (Centre national de la recherche scientifique). Our laboratory, in collaboration with ICSN-CNRS, and PIMIT has identified two Malaysian plant extracts (Goniothalamus and Desmus) from the Annonaceae family with dual anti-DENV and anti-HCoV-229-E activities. Based on these preliminary results, we conducted two field trips to collect the plants and their saplings from the Annonaceae family located in a rural state in the northeast of Peninsular Malaysia, Kelantan and also in the southwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Negeri Sembilan.

Moreover, the isolation and structural characterization of bioactive compounds will be achieved through various chromatographic and spectroscopic methods, respectively. This extensive bioassay-guided leads to several active fractions, which will be further purified to obtain active antivirals agent. Furthermore, an antiviral assay will be performed to establish a structure-activity relationship as a dual inhibitor against SARS-CoV-2 and DENV. The extract samples led to a minimum of 80% infection inhibition were selected. From here, a good selectivity index between cytotoxicity and dose-response infection assays of the fraction will be further investigated.

To preserve the source of these active agents, an Ex-situ conservation was carried out by relocating the Annonaceae sapling that originated from the Peninsular Malaysia forest to the Rimba Ilmu Botanical Garden, which is located at the main campus of Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. This botanic garden was established in 1974 by Universiti Malaya out of the need to study and conserve the abundance of plant life found in Malaysia’s tropical rainforest. This garden is reputed to be the only scientifically organized botanic garden in Kuala Lumpur that is accessible to the public. Located at the main campus of Universiti Malaya, this garden covers an area of 80 hectares where all the living collections of plants thrive.


Dr. Muhamad Aqmal Othman
Pensyarah Kanan | Senior Lecturer
Jabatan Kimia | Department of Chemistry
Fakulti Sains | Faculty of Science

Universiti Malaya
50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +603-7967 7022; Ext: 2521 | Fax: +603-7967 4193

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