AgronomyDiseasesBlackleg Bacteria May Help Fight Against Antimicrobial Resistance

Blackleg Bacteria May Help Fight Against Antimicrobial Resistance


Researchers have discovered that the potato bacteria Dickeya solani, which causes blackleg and top wilt, may help fight against antimicrobial resistance, a new study said.

A multinational team of researchers in Europe found new antifungal antibiotic named solanimycin. Solanimycin was initially isolated from Dickeya solani but it is also produced by a broad spectrum of related plant pathogenic bacteria.

The researchers found solanimycin acts against a wide range of fungi known to infect and wreak havoc on agricultural crops. In lab studies, the compound also acted against Candida albicans, a fungus that occurs naturally in the body but can cause dangerous infections. The results suggest that solanimycin, and related compounds, could be useful in both agricultural and clinical settings.

“We have to look more expansively across much more of the microbial populations available to us,” Rita Monson, microbiologist at the University of Cambridge and study co-lead, said in a news release about the study.

Solanimycin isn’t the first antibiotic discovered from the microbe. In previous work, researchers found that D. solani produces an antibiotic called oocydin A, which is highly active against multiple fungal plant pathogens.

Monson said the researchers have begun collaborating with chemists to learn more about the molecular structure of solanimycin and better understand how it works. They then hope to continue to test the compound in plant and animal models.

“Our future steps are focused on trying to use this antibiotic antifungal for plant protection,” Miguel Matilla, molecular microbiologist at the Spanish Research Council’s Estación Experimental del Zaidín and study co-lead, said in the release. “We have to open to the exploration of everything that’s out there to find new antibiotics.”

The study was published in the scientific journal mBio.

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