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21 Feb 2012

Natural Substance in Rainforest Plant Could be Used in Potential Drug against Resistant Bacteria

The identified natural substance inhibits the pumping action to break down the bacteria’s defence mechanisms and the antibiotic treatment could be effective to work.

Danish scientist Jes Gitz Holler from the University of Copenhagen has found a natural compound in a Chilean rainforest plant that targets a particular resistance mechanism in Staphylococcus aureus, the most common cause of infection in wounds from an operation. 


"Resistant bacteria have an efflux pump in their bacterial membrane that efficiently pumps out antibiotics as soon as they have gained access," explained Holler. "The identified natural substance inhibits the pumping action, so that the bacteria’s defence mechanisms are broken down and the antibiotic treatment allowed to work."


Holler gathered specimens of the plant, which comes from the Persea family, in Chile, where the Mapuche people use the leaves of the avocado plant to heal wounds. 

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