In the last decades, an affliction wiped off entire populations of frogs from all over the world. Researchers were surprised to discover that in some areas particular amphibian species were unaffected even if others were eradicated. Previous research revealed that the surviving species carried specific bacteria which produced compounds that were able to fight off the fungi infection. A new study aimed to research the potential of harnessing bacteria to help humans and amphibians.
It is well-known that the humid areas in which amphibians live are a haven for fungi and other pathogenic organisms. The amphibians observed during the study were recovered from an unusually wet area located in Panama.
The chytrid fungus, which causes a disease known as chytridiomycosis, is abundant in the target zone. Chytridiomycosis is a grave disease that can quickly kill amphibians. Tissue samples from seven frog species were recovered and analyzed in a specialized lab.
Bacteria From Frog Skin Might Help Humans Fight Fungal Infections
Specialized glands found on the body of amphibians secrete compounds called metabolites. These compounds will inhibit the growth of harmful fungi and other bacteria. During the lab tests, 200 bacterial strains which were recovered from the frogs were tested against Aspergillus fumigatus. This particular type of fungus causes a severe disease called aspergillosis, which targets individuals whose immune system is compromised or weak.
The results revealed that 29 bacteria acted against the fungus and one of them, named Pseudomonas cichorii was very useful.
A new question surfaced soon since the researchers didn’t like new which of the compounds produced by the bacteria was the most effective against A. fumigatus. A new series of tests were started, and the team harnessed the power of mass spectrometry and molecular networking to learn more information.
Viscosin was identified as an ideal compound, and additional tests revealed that it is quite effective against the fungus. Alternative drugs could be developed in the future, with the potential to cure aspergillosis in humans and help frog populations against other fungi.