Propolis is an agent having antimicrobial properties, however, its composition can vary depending on the area where it is collected. In the present study, the antimicrobial activity of five propolis samples, collected from four different regions in Turkey and from Brazil, against nine anaerobic strains was evaluated. Ethanol extracts of propolis (EEP) were prepared from propolis samples and we determined minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentrations (MBC) of EEP on the growth of test microorganisms by using agar dilution method. All strains were susceptible and MIC values ranged from 4 to 512 mu g/ml for propolis activity. Propolis from Kazan-Ankara showed most effective MIC values to the studied microorganisms. MBC values of Kazan-Ankara EEP samples were ranged from 8 to 512 mu g/ml. Death was observed within 4h of incubation for Peptostreptococcus anaerobius and micros and Lactobacillus acidophilus and Actinomyces naeslundii, while 8h for Prevotella oralis and Prevotella melaninogenica and Porphyromonas gingivalis, 12 h for Fusobacterium nucleatum, 16 h for Veillonella parvula. It was shown that propolis samples were more effective against Gram positive anaerobic bacteria than Gram negative ones. The organic chemical compositions of EEPs were determined by high-resolution gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The main compounds of EEPs were flavonoids such as pinobanksin, quercetin, naringenin, galangine, chrysin and aromatic acids such as cafeic acid. Because of increased antimicrobial resistance, propolis may be kept in mind in the treatment of oral cavity diseases. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.