The world urgently needs new antibiotics. Wageningen researchers are looking for inspiration and for promising substances in deep-sea sponges, soil bacteria and plant sprouts.
All around the world, researchers are searching for new compounds with which to keep bacteria in check. Overuse of antibiotics is making more and more pathogenic bacteria resistant to these drugs. As a consequence diseases which are still treatable at the moment, could become life-threathening. So new antibiotics are more than welcome.
Antibacterial and antiviral compounds in sponges
Anak Indraningrat and his supervisor Detmer Sipkema published an article in Marine Drugs in May 2016 with an overview of the antibacterial and antiviral compounds discovered in sponges over the past few decades. They hope to be able to add a few new candidates themselves. Sipkema is currently working with sponges from Curacao, from as deep as about 250 metres below sea level, but he will soon be tackling specimens from even greater depths than that.
Research collaboration with Sweden
Among the subjects Sipkema's team studies are the antimicrobial effects of the substances, and which genes are involved in their production. If a suitable potential antibiotic is identified, he will hand over the substance to a research group in Sweden which specializes in clarifying chemical structures.