Antibacterial activity of extracts from plants of central Argentina - isolation of an active principle from Achyrocline satureioides.
The great increase in bacterial infections is fueling interest in the search for antibacterial products of plant origin. Extracts obtained from 51 native and naturalized plants from central Argentina were therefore evaluated for their in vitro inhibitory activity on pathogenic bacteria with the aim of selecting the most active ones as new sources of effective antibiotics. The susceptibility of reference and clinical strains of Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis, and Staphylococcus aureus was determined. Extracts from Achyrocline satureioides, Flourensia oolepis, Lepechinia floribunda, and Lithrea molleoides were the most potent, with MIC and MBC values ranging from 0.006 to 2 and 0.012 to 10 mg/mL, respectively, on both gram-positive and negative bacteria. The antibacterial activity-guided isolation of A. satureioides ethanol extract showed 23-methyl-6-O-desmethylauricepyrone (1) to be the most active compound. This compound showed inhibitory effects against gram-positive bacteria with MIC and MBC values of 0.002 and 0.008 mg/mL, respectively, while on gram-negative strains, the MIC and MBC were 0.062-0.250 and 0.062-0.500 mg/mL, respectively. The strong antibacterial activity shown by the four plant extracts or the compound isolated from A. satureioides suggests that they could become part of the arsenal of antibacterial drugs currently used.