Platypus key to superbug war
ONE of Australia’s most reclusive native animals could hold the secret to fighting off superbugs.
Victorian scientists have made a new discovery about platypus milk that could help develop new types of antimicrobial wound dressings and topical creams.
A global race is under way to find new ways to kill off bacteria as fears grow many are becoming resistant to antibiotics and other treatments.
Platypuses don’t have teats so milk is released through pores in the skin and their young drink off their stomach.
Deakin University’s Dr Julie Sharp said this exposed the milk to bacteria, which was why scientists believed it contained such potent antibacterial properties.
In a new finding, CSIRO scientists recreated a protein found in platypus milk and discovered it had a unique 3D fold in the structure of the protein.
Dr Sharp said because the milk had such a unique structure, it suggested there was a new mechanism for killing bacteria, which could help circumvent the process of antimicrobial resistance. The findings are published in Structural Biology Communications.
The reclusive platypus could hold the key to fighting off superbugs.