Friday, October 14, 2005

Forest Fungus Yields Powerful Antimicrobial

"A fungus found on the floor of northern European pine forests may soon rescue humans from some of the world's most stubborn diseases. The mushroom in question has yielded an antimicrobial peptide that researchers say has the curative powers of such antibiotic stalwarts as penicillin and vancomycin, and then some. In laboratory and animal tests, the peptide, called plectasin, effectively battled a number of bacteria, including strains that have become resistant to conventional antibiotics. "This particular antimicrobial peptide was extremely active against the organisms that causes pneumonia and the organisms that cause strep throat and certain types of severe skin infections," said Dr. Michael Zasloff, co-author of the study, which appears in the Oct. 13 issue of Nature. Zasloff is professor of surgery at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C."