XVIII International AIDS Conference

Abstract

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Assessing the mutagenicity of lime juice: a potential microbicide

N. Onyejepu1, P. Odeigah1, F. Ogbonna2, O. Obunge3, A. Adetunji4

1University of Lagos, Cell Biology and Genetics, Lagos, Nigeria, 2Nigerian Institue of Medical Research, Microbilogy, Lagos, Nigeria, 3University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Microbiology, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, 4Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Clinical Diagnostics Laboratory, Lagos, Nigeria

Background: Lime juice has been proposed as a potential topical microbicides that a woman could use before coitus to prevent sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections (STI). This is based on reports that women are using lime juice to prevent STI in various parts of the world including Nigeria.
Methods: This study was initiated to evaluate the mutagenicity of lime juice purchased from a local market in Lagos, Nigeria and its effect on vaginal Lactobacillus jensenii. Freshly squeezed lime juice was subjected to bacterial mutation assay using a modified Ames mutagenicity spot test in a forward mutation on two wild strains of standard typed Enterotoxigenic strains of Escherichia coli 0157:H (1 and 7). The two tester strains were analyzed for their phenotypic characteristics. The strains were then incubated with various concentrations of lime juice (PH ranging from 3.8-5.0) in the absence and presence of S9 mix with ethidium bromide as a standard mutagen at 37°C for 48 hours. Mutant strains were verified by their phenotypic characteristics. Also susceptibility of Lactobacillus jensenii to various concentrations of lime juice was done using the agar well dilution method.
Results: The results obtained showed that the phenotypes of the mutant strains varied from that of the initial tester strains. Strain 0157-NMR1 that was able to ferment lactose and glucose lost the ability to do so after exposure to lime juice. It was also unable to produce indole as well as reduced ability to generate gas from fermentation of sugars. Strain 0157-NMR2 also gained the ability to utilize citrate which was lacking in the strain not exposed to lime juice. This suggests that lime juice is potentially mutagenic as well as affects the viability of Lactobacillus jensenii.
Conclusions: The potential use of lime juice as a microbicides should be considered with care.


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