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Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is one of the most frequent causes of hospital acquired infections. With the increase in multiple drug resistant strains, natural products such as propolis are a stratagem for new product discovery. The aims of this study were: to determine the in vitro antimicrobial activity of an ethanol extract of propolis; to define the MIC50 and MIC90 (Minimal Inhibitory Concentration – MIC) against 210 strains of S. aureus; to characterize a crude sample of propolis and the respective ethanol extract as to the presence of predetermined chemical markers. The agar dilution method was used to define the MIC and the high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method was used to characterize the samples of propolis. MIC results ranged from 710 to 2,850 µg/mL. The MIC50 and MIC90 for the 210 strains as well as the individual analysis of American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) strains of Methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) were both 1,420 µg/mL. Based on the chromatographic analysis of the crude sample and ethanol extracted propolis, it was concluded that propolis was a mixture of the BRP (SP/MG) and BRP (PR) types. The results obtained confirm an antimicrobial activity in relation to the strains of the S. aureus tested.