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Bacteria Fighter Goes Where Antibiotics Can't

dermaseptin peptide and replaced it with a fatty acid molecule. (Dermaseptins are a well-known family of peptides that destroy a wide range of microbes). The study shows for the first time that a fatty acid can replace part of a shortened peptide, which may lower the costs of manufacturing such peptides, according to the researchers.

The change made this particular peptide deadly accurate against P. aeruginosa while leaving other bacteria alone. The new peptide was also 60 times less likely to adhere to red blood cells.

“Many experts believe that one of the factors that might hamper the commercial use of antimicrobial peptides is their prohibitive cost. Therefore, smaller means cheaper and in this case, more potent,” Mor said.

Mor said the procedure might be used to create a variety of designer peptides that latch on different microbes, and that his lab will work on repeating the strategy with other peptide chains. The researchers also hope to test these new peptides against infections in animals.

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