Researchers turn to seaweeds to develop new antibiotics

London, Aug 28 (IANS) British researchers are trying to use the antimicrobial properties of seaweeds from the country’s coastline to develop a new generation of antibiotics in a bid to fight the growing threat of resistant superbugs, according to a report released on Thursday by the University of Exeter.

As the number of multidrug-resistant bacteria, also known as superbug, rises, there is an urgent need for new drugs that can be used to treat infections when others fail. Natural environments can be a rich source of antibiotics.

A research team from the University of Exeter are trying to uncover properties that could form the basis for a new generation of antibiotics that can curb infections caused by superbugs, such as MRSA, Xinhua reported.

“Our early experiments have confirmed that seaweeds hold a diverse array of antimicrobial properties. Excitingly, some of these extracts are most effective against some of the more resistant and problematic bacteria and we’re hoping our work will help to make the discovery of new drugs quicker and cheaper,” said Michiel Vos, who led the study.

With its rich abundance of coastline and seaweed species, Cornwall, a coastal area in southwest Britain, is the perfect place for this kind of research.

To take these ideas further, Vos said the team would create a dedicated research project that can really shed light on the potential they were seeing.

Antibiotic resistance is a serious and growing global problem. A previous World Health Organization (WHO) report stated that it is “now a major threat to public health”.

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