New antibiotics thanks to fungi from toxic mine

Two species of fungi found in a highly toxic environment at a copper mine in Montana have been used to develop a new type of antibiotic. The new agents show great promise in dealing with many antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The fungi were found in an abandoned copper mine in the Berkeley Pit, kt ra is currently flooded with water. The environment of the mines is very toxic and most species of in animals and plants have no chance of surviving in it. But many species of in the fungus and bacteria are doing just fine there. They have been studied for more than two decades by biologists Andrea and Donald Stierle of the University of Montana.

It was they who discovered that two types of fungus of the Penicillium family when they grow together produce a compound that ry can kill many strains of in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The compound has been named Berkeleylactone A and can even handle methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

The compound obtained by the researchers resembles a known class of antibiotics. That’s why the researchers decided to test its effectiveness on bacteria. However, how The way it kills bacteria is something researchers have not yet seen. "Analysis of the compound’s effects showed that, unlike other antibiotic macrolide Berkeleylactone A does not inhibit protein synthesis or target the ribosome, suggesting a new way of b actions" – biologists wrote in a statement.

So far, they have identified a fungus with properties that can effectively fight cancer called Taxomyces andreanae, as well as organisms characterized by anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.

Association obtained by the scientists from the University of Montana – Berkeleylactone A has dealt with four strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), as well as anthrax bacteria or bacteria that cause pharyngitis.

It is not yet clear how b new antibiotic works, but what is clear is that it could save many lives. Bacteria resistant to most antibiotics are increasingly the cause of death. Some re reports m ties that by 2050, 10 million will die from it in os b per year. Superbugs cause more deaths than cancers. In the fight against drug-resistant bacteria, even the Organization of National in the United. Last year, 193 members of the in the UN signed a declaration to combat superbugs, in which rej determined it „biggest threat wsp modern medicine”.