Myrcianthes hallii (O. Berg) McVaugh (Myrtaceae) is a plant native to Ecuador, traditionally used for its antiseptic properties. The composition of the hydro-methanolic extract of this plant was determined by submitting it to ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) hyphenated to heated-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and UV detection. The presence of antimicrobial components prompted us to test the extract against methicillin-resistant and methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus, multidrug-resistant and susceptible Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterococcus spp. and Streptococcus pyogenes strains. The chromatographic analysis led to the identification of 38 compounds, including polyphenols and organic acids, and represents the first chemical characterization of this plant. The extract showed modest antibacterial activity against all tested bacteria, with the exception of E. coli which was found to be less sensitive. Whilst methicillin-resistant strains usually display resistance to several drugs, no relevant differences were observed between methicillin-susceptible and resistant strains. Considering its long-standing use in folk medicine, which suggests the relative safety of the plant, and the presence of many known antibacterial polyphenolic compounds responsible for its antibacterial activity, the results show that M. hallii extract could be used as a potential new antiseptic agent. Moreover, new anti-infective biomaterials and nanomaterials could be designed through the incorporation of M. hallii polyphenols. This prospective biomedical application is also discussed.
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