APR 20, 2019 8:41 PM PDT

Underwater Forest May Bring New Therapeutics

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Microbes that produce defensive compounds have contributed to the major source of antibiotics and other therapeutics. However, due to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, researchers are now seeking new drug candidates offshore.

Currently, a family of sea-dwelling bacteria known as Actinobacteria have helped in producing new antibiotics with their rich source of bioactive microbial compounds. Now a study published in Frontiers in Microbiology, revealed that an underwater species of seaweed, called Laminaria ochroleuca, serves as a rich source of bacteria with antimicrobial and anticancer compounds--the discovery can lead to new therapeutics.

"About half of the 20,000+ microbe-derived drug candidates currently known come from Actinobacteria," says senior study author Dr. Maria de Fátima Carvalho of the Interdisciplinary Center of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR), Portugal. "Now the supply of new species on land -- where they form spores and branched networks just like a fungus -- is beginning to run out. Several novel drug leads derived from marine Actinobacteria are already known. These include anticancer agent salinosporamide A, currently in clinical trials, and several new antibiotics that are effective against drug-resistant infections like MRSA and tuberculosis."

The study showed that extracts of the seaweed L. ochroleuca is a rich source of Actinobacteria with promising antimicrobial and anticancer activities.

"The brown alga Laminaria ochroleuca forms complex structures called kelp forests, which are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world," says Carvalho. "But until now, no-one had characterized the Actinobacteria that live inside L. ochroleuca. Seven of the extracts inhibited growth of breast and particularly nerve cell cancers, while having no effect on non-cancer cells."

Kelp forests are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world. Image: Shutterstock.

"We identified extracts from two Actinobacteria strains that do not match any known compounds in the most comprehensive international database of natural bioactive compounds. We intend to follow up on these exciting results."

Source: Frontiers

About the Author
BS/MS
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
You May Also Like
JUN 09, 2022
Cardiology
Supplements and Heart Health
JUN 09, 2022
Supplements and Heart Health
There is little evidence that supplements actually improve heart health.
JUL 13, 2022
Neuroscience
Does a High-fat Diet Shrink the Brain?
JUL 13, 2022
Does a High-fat Diet Shrink the Brain?
A study published in Metabolic Brain Disease found an association between high-fat diets and several health diseases. In ...
JUL 16, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Oxytocin Nasal Sprays Don't Improve Emotion Recognition in Healthy Individuals
JUL 16, 2022
Oxytocin Nasal Sprays Don't Improve Emotion Recognition in Healthy Individuals
Oxytocin nasal sprays do not improve the recognition of emotions such as anger and sadness in healthy men without autism ...
JUL 28, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
FDA Approved Cannabis Drug Products
JUL 28, 2022
FDA Approved Cannabis Drug Products
The FDA has approved some cannabis infused drugs for medical usage. Here's what they are.
AUG 07, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Shows Promise in Preventing Malaria
AUG 07, 2022
Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Shows Promise in Preventing Malaria
A singular injection of a monoclonal antibody treatment candidate has been shown as safe and highly protective in US adu ...
AUG 09, 2022
Microbiology
An Inhaled COVID-19 Treatment Halts Viral Replication
AUG 09, 2022
An Inhaled COVID-19 Treatment Halts Viral Replication
This new approach could also be effective against many different types of RNA viruses.
Loading Comments...