Soil sample analysis reveals new class of antibiotics

Scientists from Rockefeller University, New York have discovered a class of distinctive anitiboitics in environmental samples.  Tests show the compounds, called malacidins, annihilate several bacterial diseases that have become resistant to most existing antibiotics, including the superbug MRSA. As infectious diseases are the leading killer of humans worldwide, the team behind the discovery hope to be able to improve the drug’s effectiveness to exploit its full potential. 

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The researchers used a gene sequencing technique to analyse DNA extracted from more than 1,000 soil samples taken from across the US.  This led to the discovery of the malacidins, a distinctive class of antibiotics that are commonly encoded in soil microbiomes but have never been reported in culture-based natural products (NP)  discovery efforts.

The malacidins are active against multidrug-resistant pathogens, sterilize methicillinresistant Staphylococcus aureus skin infections in an animal wound model and did not select for resistance under laboratory conditions.

Full article at BBC News: New Antibiotic family discovered in dirt 

The full text article can be downloaded from Nature Microbiology

Full reference:  Hoover, B. M. | Culture- independent discovery of the  malacidins as
calcium-dependent antibiotics with activity against multidrug-resistant Gram-positive pathogens | Nature Microbiology | 2018| Doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-018-0110-1

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