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Marine Bacteria Bring Hope for the Development of New Antibiotics

2019-12-07

The international team led by the University of Jena in Germany has successfully cultivated dozens of hitherto neglected marine bacteria in the laboratory. Preliminary bioinformatics analysis and cell biology observation show that new antibiotics may be produced. The research has been published in the journal Nature microbiology.
 
About three-quarters of all antibiotics in the clinic are produced by natural bacteria. Nowadays, the available antibiotics are losing their function; more and more pathogens are resistant to them, so it is urgent to develop new antibiotics. However, at present, less than 1% of known bacteria are available for drug candidates, and the remaining 99% are considered unexplored.
 
For example, in the treatment of prostatitis, antibiotics are ineffective or having less effect on most chronic prostatitis. There were experts who divided the patients with chronic bacterial prostatitis into two groups, and one group was treated with antibiotics, the other group was treated without antibiotics, the results showed that there was no significant difference between the two groups. 
 
Even in patients with prostatitis with clear pathogenic bacteria, antibiotic treatment may not be effective. And long-term treatment may bring potential harm. Patients can try to use herbal medicine Diuretic and Anti-inflammatory Pill for treatment, which has the effect of clearing away heat and detoxification, promoting diuresis and removing blood stasis. 
 
At the same time, it has better anti-inflammatory, analgesic and diuretic effects, and it can be used to treat the main symptoms such as increased urethral resistance, prostatic tubular reflux, infection, pain and urinary tract irritation. Moreover, it will not produce drug dependence or drug resistance, is conducive to the long-term use of patients, and has a better effect.
 
The ability to produce antibiotics is unevenly distributed among bacteria. First of all, it can be found in microbes with complex lifestyles, cell biology and large genomes, said Christian Joegler, a microbiologist at the University of Jena. These organisms produce antibiotic compounds and use them in nutrition and habitats to fight other bacteria.
 
It's exactly what Professor Joegler and his team do to cultivate the potential antibiotic-producing bacteria. They used divers and diving robots to search for so-called planktonic bacteria at 10 locations in the sea. "We know that planktonic bacteria live in communities with other microbes and compete with them for habitat and nutrients," says Chogler.
 
From the samples of Mediterranean Sea, North Sea, Baltic Sea, black sea, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and the Arctic Ocean, they found 79 new species of plankton, which together constituted 31 new genera and 65 new species. To characterize the newly obtained pure culture, bioinformatics and microscopy methods were used. 
 
Dr. Wigan, who participated in the study, said that bioinformatics analysis was comprehensive, a measure of the complexity of microbial lifestyles, and, therefore, another indicator of antibiotic production. The results of these analyses show that the newly discovered marine plankton has an extremely complex lifestyle and has the potential to produce new antibiotics.
 
Some bioinformatics analysis has been confirmed by researchers through experiments. For example, they studied the cell biology of isolated planktonic bacteria. "Their division is completely different from that of all the key pathogens," said Professor Joegler This work also shows a new mechanism of bacterial cell division. Most importantly, however, this study shows that even so-called nonculturable bacteria can be obtained and identified in pure cultures.

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