Miracle Marsupial Milk!
New antibiotic found in wallaby milk
Scientists have discovered a bacteria-fighting compound 100 times more effective than penicillin - in wallaby milk.
Researchers found the highly-potent compound, tagged AGG01, was active against a wide variety of fungi and bacteria including antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
Research team leader Dr Ben Cocks said the discovery could have a profound impact on both human and animal health.
"This compound has the potential to be commercially synthesised and may prove vital in the war against increasingly resistant human and animal diseases," Dr Cocks said.
He said researchers from the Victorian government's Department of Primary Industries made the discovery while investigating the chemical properties of Tammar wallabies' breast milk to determine how their immune-deficient newborns built up resistance to bacteria while in the pouch.
Using online biological information, they searched the wallaby's genome to identify more than 30 factors in the breast milk that contribute to fighting bugs.
Compound AGG01 was found to be effective against a relative of the hospital superbug MRSA, or golden staph, as well as ecoli, Streptococci, Salmonella, Bacillus subtilus, Pseudomonas spp, Proteus vulgaris, and Staphylococcus aureus.
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