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IPFS News Link • Health and Physical Fitness

The Humble Potato Could Hold the Key to Beating Hospital Superbugs as Well as Crop Diseases

• By Good News Network

The compound, called solanimycin, combats a host of fungi that wreak havoc on crops. In these recent experiments, it killed Candida albicans, which causes possibly-dangerous infections, like thrush in women.

Most current therapeutic antibiotic compounds originate from soil microbes—and the solanimycin findings show that plant-based microorganisms should get a closer look.

The research team see the discovery as an encouraging sign that plant pathogens could be coaxed to make compounds that may be used not only against plant fungi in crops that have developed resistance to treatments, but also against the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance in humans.

"We have to open to the exploration of everything that's out there to find new antibiotics," said Microbiologist Rita Monson, Ph.D., at the University of Cambridge who co-led the study.

This week in mBiothe team reported the discovery of solanimycin, initially isolated from a pathogenic bacterium that infects potatoes, that appears to be produced by a broad spectrum of related plant pathogenic bacteria.

The pathogenic potato bacterium Dickeya solani, which produces solanimycin, was first identified more than 15 years ago—and researchers at Cambridge have been investigating its antibiotic potential for a decade.

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