Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have emerged from the widespread use of antibiotics worldwide and have prompted the search for new sources of antimicrobial substances. Pinus spp. contain several bioactive compounds consisting mainly of terpenes, terpenoids and some other aromatic and aliphatic constituents. These compounds exert important biological effects, and pine oils have found wide application in the industry. In the present study, we have evaluated the potential activity of the resin-oil of Pinus elliottii and its major compound dehydroabietic acid (DA) against multiresistant bacteria by MIC, minimum bactericidal concentration and time-kill assays. The MIC of the resin-oil of P. elliottii varied between 25 and 100 µg ml(-1). As for DA, the MIC and minimum bactericidal concentration varied between 6.25 and 50 and between 6.25 and 100 µg ml(-1), respectively. The time-kill assay conducted with DA at 6.25 µg ml(-1) evidenced bactericidal activity against Staphylococcus epidermidis (American Type Culture Collection 14990) within 24 h. On the basis of these results, the resin-oil of P. elliottii and its major compound DA play an important part in the search for novel sources of agents that can act against multiresistant bacteria.