Navigation Links
Ants found to use multiple antibiotics as weed killers
Date:8/26/2010

Scientists at the University of East Anglia, have shown that fungus-farming ants are using multiple antibiotics as weed killers to maintain their fungus gardens.

Research led by Dr Matt Hutchings and published today in the journal BMC Biology shows that ants use the antibiotics to inhibit the growth of unwanted fungi and bacteria in their fungus cultures which they use to feed their larvae and queen.

These antibiotics are produced by actinomycete bacteria that live on the ants in a mutual symbiosis.

Although these ants have been studied for more than 100 years this is the first demonstration that a single ant colony uses multiple antibiotics and is reminiscent of the use of multidrug therapy to treat infections in humans.

The work, which was funded by the UK Medical Research Council, has also identified a new antibiotic that could be used to treat fungal infections.

Fungiculture in the insect world is practiced by ants, termites, beetles and gall midges.

Dr Hutchings' research investigates the Acromyrmex octospinosus leaf cutter ant, endemic in South and Central America and the southern US. These ants form the largest and most complex animal societies on earth with colonies of up to several million individuals. The garden worker ants researched were collected from three colonies in Trinidad and Tobago.

Dr Hutchings said: "This was really a fun project which started with a PhD student, Joerg Barke, streaking leaf-cutting ants onto agar plates to isolate antibiotic producing bacteria.

"We found a new antifungal compound that is related to a clinically important antifungal named nystatin so we're excited about the potential of these ants and other insects to provide us with new antibiotics for medical use.

"It's also very exciting that ants not only evolved agriculture before humans but also combination therapy with natural antibiotics. Humans are just starting to realise that this is one way to slow down the rise of drug resistant bacteria - the so called superbugs.

"Joerg, with his colleagues Ryan Seipke and Sabine Gruschow, really pushed this project forwards and made these major discoveries. They really deserve most of the credit for this work," he added.


'/>"/>

Contact: Lisa Horton
l.horton@uea.ac.uk
44-160-359-2203
University of East Anglia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. A major prize in the chemical sciences announced by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation
2. Entertainment Software Association Foundation awards grant to FAS for immune attack
3. National Science Foundation grants Clemson professors award to develop nanoprobes
4. Dunn Foundation gives Rice $3M for collaborative research grants
5. National Science Foundation grant expands UMCES oyster research
6. Earliest animal footprints ever found -- discovered in Nevada
7. Stabilizing force for good communication between neurons and muscle cells found
8. Fat-regenerating stem cells found in mice
9. Resveratrol, red wine compound linked to health, also found in dark chocolate and cocoa
10. Key to function of dinosaur crests found in brain structure
11. UT Southwestern researcher awarded Gates Foundation grant for novel vaccine development
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/14/2016)... Nov. 14, 2016  xG Technology, Inc. ("xG" or ... critical wireless communications for use in challenging operating environments, ... 30, 2016. Management will hold a conference call to ... p.m. Eastern Time (details below). Key Recent ... $16 million binding agreement to acquire Vislink Communication Systems. ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016  The American College of Medical Genetics and ... Magazine as one of the fastest-growing trade shows during ... the Bellagio in Las Vegas . ... of growth in each of the following categories: net square ... number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked ...
(Date:6/21/2016)... 21, 2016 NuData Security announced today that ... of principal product architect and that Jon ... customer development. Both will report directly to ... moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its product ... customer demand and customer focus values. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... DrugDev believes the ... and a beautiful technology experience. All three tenets were on display at the 2nd ... leaders from over 40 sponsor, CRO and site organizations to discuss innovation and the ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... YORK , Dec. 1, 2016   SurePure, ... photopurification, announced today that the Company has concluded an ... the right for a 90-day period to acquire units ... value of approximately USD 3.7 million.  ... agreement with Tamarack under which Tamarack will seek regulatory ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... -- GenomOncology today announced the appointment of Joshua F. Coleman ... Dr. Coleman will oversee clinical content development and curation ... GenomOncology software suite empowers molecular pathologists with a seamless workflow ... support, from quality control through reporting. ... , , ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... -- The Allen Institute for Cell Science has released ... collection of gene edited, fluorescently tagged human induced ... with unprecedented clarity. Distributed through the Coriell Institute ... crucial first step toward visualizing the dynamic organization ... cells healthy and what goes wrong in disease. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: