Deep-sea environments are appealing to some for the wealth of minerals and metals they contain, but they harbour another potentially valuable resource. The distinct metabolisms and unique survival skills of deepsea creatures make these ecosystems a potential hotspot for natural products that could one day be utilised in new medicines. Scientists have already discovered a microbe from a deep-sea sponge that kills pathogenic bugs in the laboratory and could offer a breakthrough in the fight against antibiotic-resistant superbugs, as well as being a good source of anti-cancer drugs. Studies have shown that marine invertebrates in general produce more antibiotic, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory substances than any group of terrestrial organisms. As it can take up to a decade for a new discovery to become a medicine, scientists working in this field are invariably opposed to deep-sea mining, pointing to the risk of destroying habitats that could harbour life-saving organic materials.