For­get an­tibi­otics, try dung mush­rooms

Sunday Express - - XPRESS PEOPLE - Lon­don

EuRo­PEAN bi­ol­o­gists have dis­cov­ered a bac­te­ria-killing com­pound in com­mon mush­rooms that grow in horse dung.

un­usu­ally for an an­tibi­otic, copsin is a pro­tein, but lab­o­ra­tory tri­als showed it to have the same ef­fect on bac­te­ria as tra­di­tional an­tibi­otics.

Chemists around the world are in­volved in a race against time to find a so­lu­tion to the grow­ing prob­lem of bac­te­ria be­com­ing re­sis­tant to an­tibi­otics.

It’s a ma­jor threat to the health of the global pop­u­la­tion, which had long as­sumed that an­tibi­otics would al­ways be avail­able to cure bac­te­rial ill­ness.The sci­en­tific com­mu­nity hopes to be able to de­velop a new range of an­tibi­otics to re- place those that are in­creas­ingly los­ing their abil­ity to work against in­fec­tions like TB.

A re­search team led by Markus Aebi, pro­fes­sor of my­col­ogy at ETH Zurich (the Swiss Fed­eral In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy in Zurich), be­lieves it may have found the an­swer.

The team dis­cov­ered copsin in the com­mon inky cap mush­room Co­prinop­sis cinerea that grows on ma­nure while re­search­ing how the fun­gus and var­i­ous bac­te­ria af­fected each other’s growth.

Lead re­searcher An­dreas Es­sig said: “Horse dung is a very rich sub­strate that har­bours a di­ver­sity of mi­cro-or­gan­isms, in­clud­ing fungi and bac­te­ria.

“Th­ese mi­cro-or­gan­isms are in con­stant com­pe­ti­tion for nu­tri­ents and space and it’s there­fore very likely to find po­tent an­tibi­otics in such an en­vi­ron­ment, which are used by the dif­fer­ent or­gan­isms to in­hibit the growth of the com­peti­tors.” — Reuters

HoRse dung har­bours a di­ver­sity of mi­cro-or­gan­isms, in­clud­ing fungi and bac­te­ria.

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