Three sesquiterpene lactones (centaurepensin = chlorohyssopifolin A, chlorojanerin and 13-acetyl solstitialin A) isolated from the aerial parts of Centaurea solstitialis L. ssp. solstitialis (Asteraceae) were investigated for antimicrobial and antiviral activities. For the antimicrobial. activity assessment, both standard and isolated strains of Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans and C. parapsilosis were employed by the microditution method. Herpes simplex type-1, a DNA virus, and Parainfluenza, an RNA virus, were employed for the determination of the antiviral activity of these three sesquiterpene tactones using Vero cell tines. Ampicilline, ofloxocine, ketoconazole, fluconazole, acyclovir and oseltamivir were used as the reference drugs. 13-Acetyl solstitialin A displayed remarkable antibacterial activity against isolated strains of E. faecalis at 1 mu g/ml concentration, which was close to the effective concentrations of ampicillin. The same compound also showed significant activity against the DNA virus, being as potent as the reference compound acyclovir at maximum and minimum concentrations of 16-<0.00006 mu g/ml. This is the first report showing that 13-acetyl solstitialin A possesses significant antiviral activity. (C) 2007 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.