Phytochemical screening of coconut husk and potentials of its activated charcoal as a stomach acid adsorbent

Ogbuanu C.C.*1, Nwagu L.N.1, Ezeh, C.N.2, Achara, N.I.3, Onwuatuegwu, J.T.C.4

1Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Department of Industrial Chemistry, Faculty of Applied Natural Sciences, P.M.B. 01660, Enugu, Nigeria.

2University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Centre for Environmental Management and Control.

3Department of Biochemistry, Tansian University, Umunya.

4Department of Microbiology, Tansian University, Umunya, Anambra State, Nigeria.


The objective of the study was to determine the active principles present and investigate if coconut husk charcoal used in traditional ulcer management adsorbs stomach acid (0.16 M). Simple chemical tests were undertaken to test for the phytochemicals. The coconut fiber charcoal was activated with 1M and 2M KOH and H2SO4 at 500 ℃ respectively in muffle furnace. Adsorption mechanism of stomach acid was studied by the adsorption of the acid onto an activated coconut husk charcoals. Adsorption which depends on contact time, amount of adsorbent and temperature is the transfer of stomach acid to the surface was determined by titrimetric method using 0.16 M NaOH and methyl red indicator. Five phytochemicals (alkaloids, carbohydrates, tannins, saponin and glycoside) were recorded present incoconut husk extracts. The result of adsorption mechanism revealed that KOH activated coconut husk charcoal is a better adsorbent than H2SO4 activated coconut husk charcoal. The optimum contact time (minutes) and amount (g) were found to be 15 minutes and 1g respectively. Temperature was found not to have any effect on the adsorption of stomach acid. The result of this study shows that KOH activated coconut husk charcoal can be effectively used in ulcer management.

Keywords: Phytochemicals, coconut husk, activated charcoal, stomach acid, adsorption.


Nigeria is among the developing countries where about 80% of the population [1]; [2]; [3] depend on medicinal plants for their primary health care. The prevention and cure of several ailments different herbs for different diseases are properties of families, community and as well as various cultures [4]; [5] and enough effort has not been made to document the phytochemicals, pharmaceutical and pharmacological activities of such plants used to treat various ailments. Extracts from the same plant materials obtained with different solvents of different polarity (low polarity solvent (such as n-hexane, ligroin and chloroform), intermediate   polarity (such as ethyl acetate) and strong polar (such as methanol, ethanol, acetone and dichloromethane) will contain a mixture of biological active principles with varying structure and polarity [6] with have distinct biological activities [7]. In medicine, the multiple pores of activated charcoal are utilized to trap many toxic chemicals such as drugs, phytotoxins and poisonous chemicals, preventing their absorption from the gastrointestinal tract [8] and the capacity to adsorb depends on several factors ( including the pH, solubility, particle size, ionization of the substance and stomach contents) [9]; [10]; [11] as a secondary decontaminate that prevents a potential circulation and perforation ofboth the liver and the intestine.[12]; [13]; [14] from binding to the toxic substance. Activated charcoal is now a supplement of choice in hopes of detoxifying their bodies of gas (ulcer), and treating a variety of ailments, including diarrhea, kidney problems, hangovers, and yellowed teeth [15]; [16]; [17]; [18]. The parietal cells (also known as oxyntic cells) that is responsible for producing the HCl in your stomach, transport proteins ferry chloride and potassium ions outward across the membrane. A proton pump exchanges hydrogen ions for potassium ions, so the net effect is the accumulation of HCl with a little KCl and the solution they secrete has a pH of 0.8 and concentration of 160 millimoles per liter, (0.16 moles per liter) [19]; [20]; [21] [22]. The increasing number of ulcer patients and the non-effective nature of the drugs in curing and the adverse effect of excess consumption of antacid medicine is alarming. The need for natural alternative drug that will be affordable, cheap, environmentally friendly and easy to prepare is desired. This study aimed to access the extracts of coconut husk samples for some of the phytochemicals present and the suitability of 1 M and 2 M KOH and H2SO4 activated coconut husk charcoal in adsorption of stomach (0.16 M HCl) acid to support its use in traditional medicine for ulcer management.


Coconut husk is not rich in phytochemicals. KOH activated coconut husks charcoal is better than H2SO4 activated coconut husks charcoalforadsorption of stomach acid and 1M KOH is the optimum activation concentration. The optimum contact time from the study is 15 minutes for KOH activated coconut husks charcoalforadsorption of stomach acid. The optimum quantity for adsorption of stomach acid is 1 g per 25 ml of the stomach acid. Temperature has no effect in the adsorption of stomach acid.


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CITE AS: Ogbuanu C. C., Nwagu L. N., Ezeh C. N., Achara N. I. and Onwuatuegwu, J.T.C. (2023). Phytochemical screening of coconut husk and potentials of its activated charcoal as a stomach acid adsorbent. NEWPORT INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCIENTIFIC AND EXPERIMENTAL SCIENCES, 4(3): 11-21.