PloS one

Computational Ranking of Yerba Mate Small Molecules Based on Their Predicted Contribution to Antibacterial Activity against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

PMID 25955847


The aqueous extract of yerba mate, a South American tea beverage made from Ilex paraguariensis leaves, has demonstrated bactericidal and inhibitory activity against bacterial pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis of two unique fractions of yerba mate aqueous extract revealed 8 identifiable small molecules in those fractions with antimicrobial activity. For a more comprehensive analysis, a data analysis pipeline was assembled to prioritize compounds for antimicrobial testing against both MRSA and methicillin-sensitive S. aureus using forty-two unique fractions of the tea extract that were generated in duplicate, assayed for activity, and analyzed with GC-MS. As validation of our automated analysis, we checked our predicted active compounds for activity in literature references and used authentic standards to test for antimicrobial activity. 3,4-dihydroxybenzaldehyde showed the most antibacterial activity against MRSA at low concentrations in our bioassays. In addition, quinic acid and quercetin were identified using random forests analysis and 5-hydroxy pipecolic acid was identified using linear discriminant analysis. We also generated a ranked list of unidentified compounds that may contribute to the antimicrobial activity of yerba mate against MRSA. Here we utilized GC-MS data to implement an automated analysis that resulted in a ranked list of compounds that likely contribute to the antimicrobial activity of aqueous yerba mate extract against MRSA.