Monday April 22, 2019

Fish Mucus Offers Potential New Antibiotics

It would be interesting to figure out if anything in the mucus, which protects the fish, could actually help protect humans

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Around 334 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, and about a quarter of a million people die from it every year. Pixabay

With current antibiotics dwindling in effectiveness against multidrug-resistant pathogens, researchers have identified an untapped antibiotic candidate in the protective mucus that coats young fish.

The mucus contains bacteria with promising antibiotic activity against known pathogens-even dangerous organisms, such as the microbe that causes MRSA infections.

This viscous substance protects fish from bacteria, fungi, and viruses in their environment, trapping the microbes before they can cause infections. The slime is also rich in polysaccharides and peptides known to have antibacterial activity.

“Fish mucus is really interesting because the environment the fish live in is complex,” said Molly Austin, an undergraduate chemistry student at the Oregon State University.

“They are in contact with their environment all the time with many pathogenic viruses.”

The researchers will be presented at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Spring 2019 National Meeting and Exposition.

For the study, the mucus was swabbed from juvenile deep-sea and surface-dwelling fish caught off the Southern California coast. The team examined young fish because they have a less-developed immune system and more mucus on the outside of their scales that could contain a greater concentration of active bacteria than adult fish.

Fish are seen in a fish market near the canal of Port Said, Egypt, March 18, 2018.
Fish are seen in a fish market near the canal of Port Said, Egypt, March 18, 2018. VOA

They isolated and screened 47 different strains of bacteria from the slime.

Five bacterial extracts strongly inhibited methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), and three inhibited Candida albicans, a fungus pathogenic to humans.

A bacteria from mucus derived from a particular Pacific pink perch showed strong activity against MRSA and against a colon carcinoma cell line.

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The study could also help reduce the use of antibiotics in fish farming by leading to better antibiotics specifically targeted to the microbes clinging to certain types of fish.

While novel chemical reagents have been found in the human microbiome, the marine equivalent remains relatively unstudied.

It would be interesting to figure out if anything in the mucus, which protects the fish, could actually help protect humans. (IANS)

Next Story

Feeding Probiotics to Infants Daily May Reduce Antibiotic Prescription in Future

For the study, the team pooled data from twelve studies together. The probiotics used in the reviewed studies were strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium

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Probiotics, Uninsured
Florida has one of the highest rates of uninsured residents in the country.

Feeding probiotics to infants and children daily may significantly stave off the need for antibiotic treatment, a finding that may help address the global rise in drug-resistant infections, said researchers.

The study found that infants and children were 29 per cent less likely to have been prescribed antibiotics if they received probiotics as a daily health supplement.

The results, published in the European Journal of Public Health, are very intriguing, the researchers said.

“Given this finding, potentially one way to reduce the use of antibiotics is to use probiotics on a regular basis,” said Daniel Merenstein, professor at Georgetown University.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antibiotic resistance occurred among 500,000 people with suspected bacterial infections across 22 countries.

Reducing the use of antibiotics is one strategy in combating resistance.

Kids
Say no to your kids for junk food, instead add healthy snacks. Pixabay

“We already have evidence that consuming probiotics reduces the incidence, duration, and severity of certain types of common acute respiratory and gastrointestinal infections,” Merenstein said.

However, it is not clear how probiotics help fight infections.

Merenstein said: “There are many potential mechanisms, such as probiotic production of pathogen inhibitors, immune regulation, among others.

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“We don’t know all the mechanisms probiotic strains may leverage. But since most of the human immune system is found in the gastrointestinal tract, ingesting healthy bacteria may competitively exclude bacterial pathogens linked to gut infections and may prime the immune system to fight others,” he explained.

For the study, the team pooled data from twelve studies together. The probiotics used in the reviewed studies were strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. (IANS)