Antibiotics represented the most significant discovery in medicine, tackling many bacteria- and fungi-induced diseases, such as tuberculosis, among many others. But the primary source for the production of such medications, soil bacteria, is almost tapped out now. Also, we’re facing another threat for the public health, as more and more so-called superbugs (antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi) evolve, causing illnesses in increasingly more people. However, according to a recent study carried out by scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Streptomyces, the same class of microbes that gave us antibiotics so far, are living virtually anywhere, including on insects.
As the researchers reported, the microbes of insects might represent the most significant source for antibiotics to fight superbugs, the increasing health threat of the last few years.
And that is possible since the microbes of insects offer their hosts protection against many pathogens that otherwise would kill them. The scientists believe that they can now fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria by creating antibiotics using the insects’ microbiome.
Microbes of Insects Might Offer a New Source for Antibiotics to Fight Superbugs
For example, the researchers extracted a new antibiotic, known as cyphomycin, from the Brazilian fungus-farming ant. It seems that cyphomycin is effective against fungi resistant to conventional antibiotics.
“It follows that if you look in a different evolutionary context, you find new chemistry. We could collect 400 insects in a few days,” explained Marc Chevrette, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Cameron Currie, the leader of the new research. They added that the insects studied in the new research provided more than 10,000 strains of microbes capable of fighting superbugs when transformed into antibiotics.
While further research is required to confirm the findings of this one, this new study shows promising results for the fight against superbugs (antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi) which are now a public health threat as they resist to the most conventional antibiotics on the market.