Cedar's needles fight MRSA

March 2, 2011

A University of Missouri forestry professor has found that a species of cedar tree carries an antibiotic that appears to be effective against the bacterial infection methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Sify.com reports.

Columbia, Mo. - A University of Missouri forestry professor has found that a species of cedar tree carries an antibiotic that appears to be effective against the bacterial infection methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Sify.com reports.

Chung-Ho Lin, Ph.D., a research assistant professor at the university’s Center for Agroforestry, and colleagues were researching possible uses for tree species that are considered a nuisance. They identified, isolated and tested 17 bioactive compounds.

Among these was a chemical compound found in the needles of the eastern red cedar. After a series of tests, the researchers discovered that a small amount of the compound - 5 micrograms per milliliter - was effective against several versions of MRSA.

The team also discovered that in addition to the MRSA-fighting compound, the eastern red cedar carries chemical compounds that can kill skin cancer cells in mice.

The team’s research was presented at the recent International Conference on Gram-Positive Pathogens in Omaha, Neb.