Mahonia aquifolium, commonly known as oregon grape, originates in the mountain regions of the Pacific Northwest U.S. It is traditionally used for maladies including eye infections, acne, skin conditions, and urinary tract infections (UTI). The medicinal component, berberine of the oregon grape plant, has shown to have antibacterial properties, but no new properties have been identified since. MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, can be found either on the skin or within the nose and is spread either from person to person contact or by fomite from direct contact. MRSA strain is resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics such as amoxicillin and penicillin, therefore making it difficult for healthcare professionals to treat.
According to the United States’ Center of Disease Control (CDC), there have been 119,000 Staph aureus related infections and almost 20,000 deaths in 2017. By using bioassay-guided fractionation that includes extraction, partition, bioassay, and column chromatography techniques, the investigation will assess the bioactivity of oregon grape and identify the antimicrobial compounds responsible for the tested bioactivity. According to the initial MRSA inhibition bioassay, ethyl acetate extract had the highest bio-inhibition and the focus will be on isolating the bioactive constituents from this extract.