Dig Deeper for New Antiobiotics, Literally, in the Dirt

We’re running out of sources for antibiotics to keep fighting the next round of flus, but one microbiologist thinks he knows a whole fecund bed of sources for the next and the next and the next set of antibiotics.

That source is LITERALLY in the dirt.

A potentially powerful new antibiotic is discovered in dirt

…..in labs around the world, scientists are racing against time to cultivate new microbe-destroying molecules — but most of the low-hanging fruit has already been picked.

With due respect to Fleming, microbiologist Sean Brady thinks it’s time to shift tactics. Instead of growing antibiotics in a petri dish, he hopes to find them in the ground.

“Every place you step, there’s 10,000 bacteria, most of which we’ve never seen,” said Brady, an associate professor at Rockefeller University in New York. Many of these bacteria behave in ways that aren’t yet understood and produce molecules that haven’t been seen before.

“Our idea is, there’s this reservoir of antibiotics out in the environment we haven’t accessed yet,” Brady said.
That idea is beginning to pay off: In a study published Monday in the journal Nature Microbiology, he and his colleagues report the discovery of a new class of antibiotic extracted from unknown microorganisms living in the soil. This class, which they call malacidins, kills several superbugs — including the dreaded methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) — without engendering resistance.

Read More at Washington Post
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