Friday, 12 August 2016

Ovicidal and larvicidal activity of extracts of Opuntia ficus-indica against gastrointestinal nematodes of naturally infected sheep

Volume 226, 15 August 2016, Pages 65–68
Short communication

  • a Departamento de Física e Química, FEIS, Universidade Estadual Paulista, CEP 15385-000, SP, Brazil
  • b Departamento de Biologia e Zootecnia, FEIS, Universidade Estadual Paulista, CEP 15385-000, SP, Brazil
  • c Núcleo de Pesquisa em Ciências Exatas e Tecnológicas, Universidade de Franca, CEP 14404-600, SP, Brazil


We examined the in vitro anthelmintic effects of Opuntia ficus indica.
The anthelmintic activity was evaluated by EHA, LDA and LMI assays.
This plant possesses a significant in vitro anthelmintic activity.
The aqueous fractions containing tannins and saponins were the most active.


This study describes the in vitro anthelmintic activity of extracts from Opuntia ficus indica against gastrointestinal nematodes of sheep. The anthelmintic activity was evaluated by inhibition of egg hatching, larval development and larval migration assays. The residual aqueous fractions from cladodes and fruits showed higher ovicidal activity with EC50 values of 7.2 mg/mL and 1.5 mg/mL, respectively. The aqueous, hexane, and ethyl acetate fractions from fruits and the aqueous fraction from cladodes inhibited 100% of larval development at the lowest concentration tested (1.56 mg/mL). The crude cladode and fruit ethanolic extracts inhibited larval migration and showed EC50 values of 0.74 mg/mL and 0.27 mg/mL, respectively. Phytochemical screening detected high concentrations of alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids, and saponins in the fruits and cladodes. The results demonstrated that O. ficus exhibits anthelmintic activity in vitro, suggesting that, beyond its nutritional potential, this plant can also be an ally for parasite control in sheep.

Graphical abstract

Image for unlabelled figure


  • Cactus forage;
  • Phytotherapy;
  • Anthelmintic activity
Corresponding author.