New Way to Fight E. Coli: Cockroach Brains

Pests could be valuable new source of antibiotics
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2010 4:57 AM CDT
"These new antibiotics could potentially provide alternatives to currently available drugs that may be effective but have serious and unwanted side effects," the lead researcher says.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – Scientists believe they've finally found a use for cockroaches. The brains and nervous systems of cockroaches and locusts hold molecules that can kill off up to 90% of MRSA and E. Coli bacteria without damaging human tissue, Bloomberg reports. Researchers believe the insects could be key to developing next-generation antibiotics to deal with emerging drug-resistant "superbugs" like Acinetobacter.

The same thing that makes cockroaches dirty, disease-spreading pests makes them a potentially valuable source of antibiotics, say scientists. "Insects often live in unsanitary and unhygienic environments where they encounter many different types of bacteria,” the lead researcher explained. “It is therefore logical that they have developed ways of protecting themselves against micro-organisms.” (Read more E. coli stories.)

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