Ancient Irish soil may help fight the world’s deadliest bacteria

This new strain of bacteria is effective against 4 of the top 6 pathogens that are resistant to antibiotics.


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Scientists at the Swansea University Medical School have discovered a previously unknown strain of bacteria in Irish soil from Ireland- yet considered to have medicinal properties.

This new strain is dubbed as Streptomyces sp. myrophorea- is effective against four of the top six superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics, including MRSA.

As per local lore, the dirt in the Boho Highlands in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, could help fix what ails ya. A huge number of years back, the dirt was utilized to treat things like a toothache and diseases. These sorts of folk medicines won’t get much consideration in scientific researchers these days, but with the looming risk of anti-resistant bacteria, more analysts are examining whether the old stories have any fact to them.

Scientists tested the soil from the Boho Highlands area, looking for signs of the presence of Streptomyces bacteria, which are well known for producing antibiotics.

This new strain was observed to be effective at killing a few pathogens on the World Health Organization’s priority list. This incorporates carbapenem-safe Acinetobacter baumannii, which is recorded as critically threatening; Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) and methicillin-safe Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the two of which are of high priority on the rundown; and Klebsiella pneumonia. Strangely, this new Streptomyces strain was found to repress both grams positive and gram negative bacteria, with the last for the most part being trickier to kill.

Professor Paul Dyson of Swansea University Medical School said, “Our discovery is an important step forward in the fight against antibiotic resistance.”

“Our results show that folklore and traditional medicines are worth investigating in the search for new antibiotics. Scientists, historians, and archaeologists can all have something to contribute to this task. It seems that part of the answer to this very modern problem might lie in the wisdom of the past.”

Dr. Gerry Quinn from the research team said, “The discovery of antimicrobial substances from Streptomyces sp.myrophorea will help in our search for new drugs to treat multi-resistant bacteria, the cause of many dangerous and lethal infections.”

“We will now concentrate on the purification and identification of these antibiotics. We have also discovered additional antibacterial organisms from the same soil cure which may cover a broader spectrum of multi-resistant pathogens.”

The research was published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.


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