Antibiotic resistant bacteria has been a major concern for some time now.
The growing need for an answer to this threat has prompted researchers to get creative with their search for new drugs that may help us maintain the upper hand. Researchers have now uncovered what they refer to as a "potential goldmine" of antibiotics in the form of "fish slime".
Yes, fish slime. The mucus that coats the surfaces of fish might not seem like it would be the first choice for life saving medicine but the slime plays a major role in helping fish fight off fungi, bacteria and pathogens. The slime is also known to hold vast amounts of polysaccharides and peptides with antibacterial properties. The team worked with a mucus swabbed from juvenile deep-sea and surface dwelling fish caught off the coast of Southern California.
The younger fish were chosen for their underdeveloped immune systems and thicker layers of mucus in the hope that they would offer a higher abundance of active bacteria. The team screened 47 different strains of bacteria and uncovered a number of new antibiotic candidates. "Five of the extracts strongly repelled the advances of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), as did bacteria taken from the mucus of a particular Pacific pink perch. That same bacteria inhibited activity of a colon carcinoma cell line, and three others inhibited the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans." (Irving, 2019)
The researchers will seek to determine whether these particular bacteria are a typical and essential part of the animal's microbiomes or had simply happened to "hop on for a ride" at the time of swabbing.
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