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Sea compound could help protect against Anthrax

Last Updated: Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 18:59

Washington: A new chemical compound found in an ocean microbe could pave way for new treatments for anthrax and other ailments such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a new study suggests.

Scripps researcher Chris Kauffman in William Fenical`s group first collected the microorganism that produces the compound in 2012 from sediments close to shore off Santa Barbara, California.

Fenical`s team in the Scripps Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, working in conjunction with San Diego-based Trius Therapeutics, used an analytical technique known as spectroscopy to decipher the unusual structure of a molecule from a microscopic species known as Streptomyces.

Initial testing of the compound, which they named anthracimycin, revealed its potency as a killer of anthrax, the infectious disease often feared as a biological weapon, as well as MRSA.

"The real importance of this work is the fact that anthracimycin has a new and unique chemical structure," Fenical said, adding that the finding is a basic research discovery, which could lead to testing and development, and eventually a drug.

"The discovery of truly new antibiotic compounds is quite rare. This discovery adds to many previous discoveries that show that marine bacteria are genetically and chemically unique," he said.

The research is published in the international edition of the German journal Angewandte Chemie.


First Published: Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 18:59
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