Thursday November 21, 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

Antibiotics Not Necessary for Most Toothaches: ADA Guideline

Studies have shown that antibiotics, which are designed to stop or slow the growth of bacterial infections, don't necessarily help patients experiencing a toothache

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Toothaches
Healthy adults experiencing Toothaches are best served not by antibiotics but by dental treatment and, if needed, over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Pixabay

Antibiotics are not recommended for toothaches, according to a new American Dental Association (ADA) guideline.

Patients with toothaches are often prescribed antibiotics by physicians and dentists to help relieve signs and symptoms and prevent progression to a more serious condition.

However, the new guideline and accompanying systematic review found that healthy adults experiencing a toothache are best served not by antibiotics but by dental treatment and, if needed, over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

“Antibiotics are, of course, tremendously important medications, however, it’s vital that we use them wisely so that they continue to be effective when absolutely needed,” said Peter Lockhart, chair of the ADA expert panel and research professor at Carolinas Medical Center in the US.

Studies have shown that antibiotics, which are designed to stop or slow the growth of bacterial infections, don’t necessarily help patients experiencing a toothache.

In addition, antibiotics can cause serious side effects, and overuse has resulted in bacterial strains that are resistant to antibiotics.

Toothaches
Patients with Toothaches are often prescribed antibiotics by physicians and dentists to help relieve signs and symptoms and prevent progression to a more serious condition. Pixabay

The guideline offers example scenarios when antibiotics may be prescribed for a toothache.

“When dental treatment is not immediately available and the patient has signs and symptoms such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, or extreme tiredness, antibiotics may need to be prescribed,” Lockhart said.

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“But in most cases when adults have a toothache and access to dental treatment, antibiotics may actually do more harm than good,” he added. (IANS)