Background: Ruta chalepensis is a shrub from the Mediterranean basin widely used in the
traditional medicine. The plant presents an interesting composition containing alkaloids,
coumarins and volatile oil. The present work aims to study the antibacterial and the cytotoxic
effects of the ethanol extract, its fractions, and the alkaloid extract from the cultivated Ruta
Methods: Extracts were tested against five bacterial strains using the agar well diffusion method
and the broth micro-dilution technique for the determination of the minimum inhibitory
concentration (MIC). Brine shrimp assay was used to evaluate the cytotoxicity.
Results: Chloroform fraction exhibited a strong antibacterial activity against S. aureus, and B.
subtilis with inhibition diameters of 25.5±0.7 and 18.5±2.12mm at 50mg/ml and 100mg/ml,
respectively. Butanol and aqueous fractions were found to be inactive against all the tested
strains. Ethyl acetate was the only active fraction against E. coli. Alkaloids showed a strong
growth inhibition of B. subtilis and S. aureus at low concentrations (22.5±0.71 and
18.00±0,00mm, respectively at 20mg/ml). The cytotoxicity evaluation using the brine shrimp
larvae indicated a high effect of alkaloids with an LC50 of 27.51μg/ml supporting their
Conclusion: These findings suggest a possible use of Ruta chalepensis as a source of
antibacterial and anti-proliferative agents.