Friday, 1 July 2011

Bacterial Friend?

Bdellovibrio bacteria act as 'living antibiotic' against important human pathogen

Scientists have found that a predatory bacterium significantly reduces the number of salmonella bacteria in the guts of live chickens, suggesting that the bacterium has potential to be used as a "living antibiotic."

Researchers at the University of Nottingham found that Bdellovibrio reduced the numbers of Salmonella by 90 percent and the birds remained healthy, grew well, and were generally in good condition.

Salmonella likes to grow in the guts of poultry and other animals and can cause food poisoning in humans.

Dr Laura Hobley said "Bdellovibrio has the potential to be used as a living antibiotic against some major human and animal pathogens, such as E. coli and other so-called Gram-negative bacteria."

She continued "We think that Bdellovibrio could be particularly useful as a topical treatment for wounds or foot rots but we wanted to know what might happen if it is ingested - either deliberately as a treatment, or by accident."

Previous studies have shown that Bdellovibrio is very effective at invading and killing other bacterial cells in a test tube.

And now it looks likely to provide an alternative to antibiotic medicines at a time when bacterial resistance is a significant problem to human and animal health.

Reference:R. J. Atterbury, L. Hobley, R. Till, C. Lambert, M. J. Capeness, T. R. Lerner, A. K. Fenton, P. Barrow, R. E. Sockett. Studying the effects of orally administered Bdellovibrio on the wellbeing and Salmonella colonization of young chicks.. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2011; DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00426-11

Professor Douglas Kell, Chief Executive, BBSRC said "Once we have understood the fundamental nature of an extraordinary organism such as Bdellovibrio, it makes sense that we should look at potential uses for it. The impact of bacterial infections on human and animal health is significant and since antibiotic resistance is a major issue, alternatives from nature may become increasingly important."

Thursday, 2 June 2011


Conventional MRSA is most commonly found in hospitals

Friday June 3,2011

By Dana Gloger

BRITISH milk has become infected with the deadly MRSA superbug for the first time. The strain is resistant to antibiotics and cannot be detected by standard tests because its genetic make-up is so unusual.

The bug is already infecting humans, with 15 cases in England and 12 in Scotland. Scientists at Cambridge University discovered the bug in cow’s milk while researching an unrelated infection in the animals’ udders.

They found evidence of humans and cows with exactly the same sub-type of the new MRSA strain, which they said suggested transmission between animals and people. It is thought the bug has been spread by farm workers.

Conventional MRSA is most commonly found in hospitals but the scientists, whose study is published today in medical journal The Lancet, discovered that the DNA of the new strain is different.

This means existing tests cannot pick it up. Scientists are now frantically trying to develop a new testing system. Experts are still attempting to assess the public health risk but have said there is no threat to the safety of milk and dairy products because pasteurising should kill the bug.

Dr Mark Holmes, who led the research, said cases of the new strain were rising. “But we are fairly sure in the last three or four years there haven’t been any deaths attributable to this new MRSA.”

The Soil Association called for an immediate ban on the routine use of antibiotics on animals “even if that means milk has to cost a few pennies more. That would be a very small price to pay for maintaining the efficacy of these life-saving drugs.”

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