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Research Suggests Bear Saliva Used for New Antibiotics Test

Using a new technology, scientists developed antibiotics from a strain of bacteria obtained from saliva of East Siberian brown bear, which actively kills Staphylococcus aureus.

A team of researchers and scientists developed a technology that enables assessing of a critical antibiotics by using bacteria found in the saliva of an East Siberian brown bear. The bacterium from the bear’s saliva is treated with oil to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. The work was published in the online journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in September 2018.

Using the innovated technology, the researchers placed the bacteria with oil droplets with the help of powerful machines to rapidly sort several hundred thousand oil droplets from the live bear’s mouth, and the scientists found one droplet with zero Staphylococcus aureus.

The antibiotics found in wild animal sources are mainly unexplored areas, and little has been known about the nature of the microbes by the scientists. The new developed technology would enable the microbial species to be tested individually, which could serve as a powerful mechanism for finding new antibiotics, understanding, and studying external effects on a microbiome.

“It is tedious to look for bacteria that produce antibiotics by testing them on Petri dishes and looking at how they inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria,” said study coauthor Konstantin Severinov, a principal investigator at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology and professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.”

The strain of bacteria collected from bear’s saliva was able to kill Staphylococcus aureus, it is akin to the same strain produced by amicoumacin, an antibiotic. The bears used in the project were caught from wild and then left after experiment.