Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rainforest plant combats multi-resistant bacterial strains

Date:
February 20, 2012
Source:
University of Copenhagen
Summary:
Aggressive infections in hospitals are an increasing health problem worldwide. The development of bacterial resistance is alarming. Now a young Danish scientist has found a natural substance in a Chilean rainforest plant that effectively supports the effect of traditional treatment with antibiotics.

Aggressive infections in hospitals are an increasing health problem worldwide. The development of bacterial resistance is alarming. Now a young Danish scientist has found a natural substance in a Chilean rainforest plant that effectively supports the effect of traditional treatment with antibiotics.

PhD Jes Gitz Holler from the University of Copenhagen discovered in a research project a compound that targets a particular resistance mechanism in yellow staphylococci. The development of resistance in these specific bacteria is extremely rapid. Bacterial strains that do not respond to treatment have already been found in the USA and Greece.

"I have discovered a natural substance in a Chilean avocado plant that is active in combination treatment with traditional antibiotics. Resistant bacteria have an efflux pump in their bacterial membrane that efficiently pumps out antibiotics as soon as they have gained access. The identified natural substance inhibits the pumping action, so that the bacteria's defence mechanisms are broken down and the antibiotic treatment allowed to work," explains Jes Gitz Holler.

Jes Gitz Holler gathered specimens of the plant, which comes from the Persea family, in Chile, where the Mapuche people use the leaves of the avocado plant to heal wounds. The results have been published in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

Synthetic chemistry for sustainable production

The so-called MIC value is the lowest possible concentration of an antibiotic that inhibits the bacterial growth. With his compound from the medicine chest of the Mapuche people, Jes Gitz Holler can lower the MIC value by at least eight times:

"The natural compound has great potential and perhaps in the longer term can be developed into an effective drug to combat resistant staphylococci. At this time there are no products on the market that target this same efflux-inhibitor mechanism. We want to improve the active substance using synthetic chemistry in the laboratory. That will also ensure sustainable production of a potential drug while protecting rainforest plants," continues Jes Gitz Holler.

Jes Gitz Holler emphasises that a commercial product will benefit the Mapuche people. At present there is a written agreement between the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and the representative of the Mapuche people, Alfonso Guzmán, PhD, who helped procure the plant material.

Bacteria are winning the race

Yellow staphylococcus -- Staphylococcus aureus -- is the most common cause of infection in wounds from an operation. However, the bacteria can be the cause of many diseases, from abscesses and food poisoning to life-threatening infections such as infective endocarditis and sepsis. The bacteria have been a major problem in hospitals worldwide since the 1940s, and up to now the drug industry has managed to develop new antibiotics in step with the increasingly aggressive behaviour of the bacteria. Unfortunately, that development appears to be turning:

"For all intents and purposes, the drug industry is not pursuing research into new antibiotics. It is simply too expensive relative to possible earnings, and there is more money in drugs to treat chronic diseases such as diabetes. Therefore, the bacteria are winning the race -- resistance increases and treatment options are scarce. Research will have to find new paths and natural substances are one of them," emphasises Jes Gitz Holler.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Copenhagen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. G. Holler, S. B. Christensen, H.-C. Slotved, H. B. Rasmussen, A. Guzman, C.-E. Olsen, B. Petersen, P. Molgaard. Novel inhibitory activity of the Staphylococcus aureus NorA efflux pump by a kaempferol rhamnoside isolated from Persea lingue Nees. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 2012; DOI: 10.1093/jac/dks005

Cite This Page:

University of Copenhagen. "Rainforest plant combats multi-resistant bacterial strains." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120220090614.htm>.
University of Copenhagen. (2012, February 20). Rainforest plant combats multi-resistant bacterial strains. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120220090614.htm
University of Copenhagen. "Rainforest plant combats multi-resistant bacterial strains." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120220090614.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins