The trade of medicinal animals in Brazil: current status and perspectives
AIM OF THE STUDY Tupinambis merianae is one of the animals that is most frequently used for medicinal purposes in Brazil as its body fat has many therapeutic indications in local folk medicine. This work presents the chemical compositions of the body fat of Tupinambis merianae and evaluates the antibacterial activity of the body fat as well as the ecological implications of its use in traditional medicine. MATERIALS AND METHODS Oil (OTM) was extracted from body fat located in the ventral region of Tupinambis merianae using hexane as a solvent. Fatty acids were determined indirectly using their corresponding methyl esters. The antibacterial activity of OTM was tested against standard as well as multi-resistant lines of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, either alone or in combination with antibiotics and UV-A light. RESULTS Body fat of Tupinambis merianae presents 57% and 43% of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids respectively. Our results indicated that OTM did not demonstrate relevant antibacterial activity against any of the lines of Escherichia coli or Staphylococcus aureus, nor when combined with antibiotics or with UV-A light. CONCLUSIONS In light of these results, we recommend (i) development of management plans for a sustainable and rational use of Tupinambis merianae reducing the possible pressure on this species; and (ii) more studies be focused on the use of OTM and other natural products derived from animals that are used to treat other illnesses.