Edit

Biomedicine

Antibiotics, Heal Thyself

Every year, more than 20 million kilograms of antibiotics are released into the environment in human and animal waste. Manure from antibiotics-fed farm animals, for example, is often spread on fields. These releases are an important factor in the development of new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. To attack the problem, chemists at Wayne State University have synthesized an antibiotic that chemically self-degrades after several hours of exposure to light.

Wayne State researcher Shahriar Mobashery calls this the first example of an “antibiotic that destroys itself.” Mobashery attached a nitrogen-containing chemical group to a beta-lactam antibiotic, the most commonly prescribed class of antibiotics. This compound itself will probably not become a drug. But Mobashery says the test should be food for thought for pharmaceutical companies looking to slow the spread of bacterial resistance.

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider Online Only

$19.95/yr US PRICE

Biomedicine

New technologies and biological insights are providing unprecedented ways of improving our health.

You've read of free articles this month.