Science/Tech

New Antibiotic Discovered In Tropical Forest

Antibiotics
The research targeted inappropriate prescribing to reduce the risk of widespread antibiotic resistance. EmilianDanaila/Pixabay

Recently, scientists primarily from Rutgers University and all around the world have discovered a new antibiotic, taken from soil bacterium found in a Mexican tropical forest.

Known as phazolicin, the new antibiotic apparently helps prevent any harmful bacteria from getting into the root systems of bean plants, which can then lead to infestation and damage. Per the Rutgers University co-authored study (which is published in the journal Nature Communications), this newly discovered antibiotic can lead to the development of a ‘plant probiotic,’ which can help provide good bacteria and health benefits to both humans and plants.

"We hope to show the bacterium can be used as a 'plant probiotic' because phazolicin will prevent other, potentially harmful bacteria from growing in the root system of agriculturally important plants . Antibiotic resistance is a huge problem in both medicine and agriculture, and continuing searches for new antibiotics are very important as they may provide leads for future anti-bacterial agents,” Konstantin Severinov, senior author, a principal investigator at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology and a professor of molecular biology and biochemistry in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, said.

Per the study’s authors, the antibiotic apparently came from an unidentified species of Rhizobium, and was found in the floor of a tropical forest in Los Tuxtlas, Mexico. Phazolicin was apparently found in the soil and roots of the wild bean Phaseolus vulgaris, hence its name. Per experts, the phazolicin-producing microbe makes plants grow more robustly than others by providing it with nitrogen and forming nodules on the beans’ roots. Furthermore, it also ups the ante by defending the plants from any harmful bacteria that might try to damage its root, unlike other Rhizobia. According to the study authors, this phenomenon can soon be used on other legumes such as peanuts, soybeans, lentils, chickpeas and peas.

Per the study, the existence of phazolicin was first proven in a lab after scientists used computer and bioinformatic analysis. This also revealed its atomic structure, as well as the fact that scientists can modify its sensitivity by introducing mutations in its ribosomes.

Antibiotics The research targeted inappropriate prescribing to reduce the risk of widespread antibiotic resistance. EmilianDanaila/Pixabay

Loading...
Join the Discussion